LeBron James will attempt the most wonderful achievement of his historic career by leading the twice-rebuilt Cleveland Cavaliers against heavily fancied defending champion Golden State in the 72nd NBA Finals. After all, the Houston Rockets had the opportunity to take down the Warriors in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals while the Boston Celtics could have eliminated the Cavs in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Thompson has a point, as the Warriors winning the 2017 championship in dominant fashion spurred several teams to make big moves in attempts to compete with the Warriors, to varying degrees of success.
The 2018 NBA Finals begins tomorrow night.
It also feels at least a little like this series was decided a couple of nights ago, when the Houston Rockets bricked their way to a Game 7 loss at home and set up the Golden State-Cleveland four-peat.
Now, James and the Cavs and Curry and the defending champions find themselves in familiar territory, facing off in a fourth straight NBA Finals - just with far less prep time after each team played furious Game 7s on the road to get back here.
Mbah a Moute just finished up a one-year, $2.1 million deal and hopefully they can squeeze him in with roughly the same pact as this past season.
By the end of this series, the Cavaliers will be wondering why they even chose to go out with the Warriors again.
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"This has been one of the most challenging seasons I've had", James said. "And I was like, 'OK, I am not settling for that conversation, now that is just ridiculous". You've got to play.
For context, James has played 235 playoff games, amassed the most minutes played by any player in National Basketball Association playoff history (9,870), and is now averaging 34 points, 9.2 rebounds, 8.8 assists, and doing it with little-to-no rest while shooting 54.2 percent from the field. "I want to just try to maximize as much as I can and be as good as I can". While Houston, who was obsessed with beating Golden State, might have fallen short, they did give the Cleveland Cavaliers the blueprint to success.
"LeBron's one of those guys that in order for you to be great like that, you've got to do it, day after day after day", Durant said. LeBron James, of course, is on an eight-Finals streak, having taken the Heat there four in a row followed by this current Cavs run. The Rockets would have won this one, too.
James on Wednesday denied that he prompted the Cavaliers to trade away Kyrie Irving last summer. We'll have to see but I'm all for bringing him back. When they lose, it's because Steph Curry played poorly. Thompson believes it's not the fault of the Warriors nor the Cavaliers why they continue to rule the league in the last four seasons.
"It will be interesting to see how competitive LeBron James can make this Finals, but any game they get in this Finals would be a huge upset to me", Van Gundy said.
Thirty-year-old Curry played in only 51 games during the regular season due to injury and missed the Warriors' first six postseason games but has looked like his old self on the court since returning.
Will that carry over to the NBA Finals, giving James and Cleveland a chance? "We'll see what happens".