Sport

An Epic NBA Finals, No Matter What

An Epic NBA Finals, No Matter What

And that chain of events led to James averaging 36.3 points, 11.7 rebounds, 9.7 assists, 3.0 steals, 3.0 blocks and 2.7 turnovers per game over arguably the greatest three-game stretch by any player in National Basketball Association history.

After splitting the first two series in the NBA's newest and best rivalry, the sport has come full circle for a third best-of-seven series-and this time the stakes feel even higher.

I think we can all agree that last year's NBA Finals was one of the best sports things to ever happen, and that it would be maximally good if the same thing-by "same thing" I mean LeBron and the Cavs banishing the Warriors to hell-happened again this year.

The two superstars are nearly always close statistically when they play against the other, but James' teams have defeated Durant's 18 times in 23 games with both players on the court - including the 2012 Finals in which James' Miami Heat bounced Durant's Oklahoma Thunder in five games. Golden State is the first team to start a postseason at 12-0 and is winning by an average of 16.3 points.

Irving has played great through the Cavs' walloping of the Eastern Conference, as has Kevin Love, who is having his best postseason campaign since joining Cleveland.

"Are you going to be happy with the outcome if you lose?" There's Warriors coach Steve Kerr and the after-effects of back surgery that have led to absence. James won his first title in 2012 with Miami in a five-game series over Durant and the Thunder. Steph is averaging 28 points in the playoffs so far, while LeBron just recently passed Michael Jordan on the all time playoff scoring list. They are the ninth team in league history to reach the finals undefeated, in eras with fewer games needed to make the championship round, but only five of the first eight won the title.

And this time, I have a feeling very different than I had past year. "I can't lie", Durant said of his latest trip to the finals compared to his first. Well, the Warriors found out the hard way that if they bring the fight to the Cavs, they better be prepared for a war.

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"I'm not in the "prove people wrong, silence critics" department no more", James said. This was the seventh straight time that LeBron James advanced to the NBA Finals. "To be headed to the NBA Finals is a great way to combat all that talk".

James converted 151 of his 267 field goal attempts and 32 of his 76 three-point tries, and got to the free-throw line for 125 shots, of which he knocked down 89. They were Team USA teammates in the 2012 Olympics, where they captured gold together.

The Cavaliers have lost just once in three playoff rounds, falling on a last- second shot by three points to top-seeded Boston in game three of the Eastern Conference finals, while winning the other four games by an average of almost 26 points. Because of all this, Game One will be as hyped as any Game One since, well, last year's Game One. This series is going to be closer than the masses think, and nobody should be surprised if the Cavaliers win.

"We have another level, " James said.

Unsurprisingly, the most expensive ticket for this year's NBA Finals is for Game 7 in Oakland, assuming such a game needs to be played (as soon as one team wins four games, the series is over).

"But we fully respect and are aware that this team that we're playing, they're the champions". You've just got to do what you can and have the intentions to win the game.

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