LeBron James has done it again.
The NBA Finals will feature LeBron James for a 6th straight year, as the Cleveland Cavaliers move on to their second straight finals, with a win last night in Toronto. LeBron’s 33 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists led the way, as he continues to prove that he is still the king of the NBA.
The Cav’s bench only scored 13 points, but it didn’t matter. The Big 3 of Love, LeBron, and Kyrie combined for 83 points in the game (kyrie 30; Love 20)! This is a completely different team than the beat up Cavaliers of last year. Kyrie, and Love are healthy, and the team is meshing as well as they have since they joined forces last season. Their back-to-back big wins against Toronto, have got to have the West worried.
While the Thunder, or Warriors, each pose a huge threat to LeBron’s Cav’s, I don’t know if anyone can deny that the Cav’s are playing like the best team in basketball. They go on to the finals needing only 14 games to do so, healthy, and well rested. The Thunder on the other hand, are in an all out brawl, using every ounce of energy they have to try and close their series; while the Warriors, are slightly banged up, and clawing for survival. I don’t think there is any argument that the Cavaliers are going to be better rested, and healthier than whoever they match-up with out of the West. Also, let’s not forget that LeBron led his mediocre supporting cast to two wins against last years Warriors; he has proven that he is too much for the Warriors to stop, and with Love, and Kyrie healthy, the Cav’s are nearly impossible to defend. I also believe that LeBron is on a mission this year; he’s lost his last two finals, and i can’t see him losing a third.
The Cav’s have been the best 3 point shooting team in the postseason making 14.4 3pt. field goals per game, while golden state is making just 11.6. I think OKC poses the best match-up against the Cav’s, as Serge Ibaka can shut down Love, Westbrook has proven he can shut down shifty ball handling wizards like Steph Curry, and Kevin Durant vs. LeBron is a match-up made in heaven. The Cav’s have struggled to defend opposing star point guards, which is a trait of their team that will not suffice against Westbrook.
Remember, this is a much different OKC team than the 2012 team that gave LeBron his first title. Yes, they are without James Harden, but is that really such a bad thing? Kd and Russ have matured since then; they now understand what it takes to win. Billy Donovan has been able to do something that Scott Brooks never could, in unifying the two star players. OKC must close out their series tonight in game 6, however, or they might be in trouble.
Either way, the West poses a very tough challenge for LeBron, and it always has. He’s 2-4 in his career, a finals record that has haunted him, and delighted his cult of “haters”. There is no question that LeBron must win this series. At the age of 31 years old, in his 13th season, there is no telling how much longer he has in the league, and how many more shots he will get at a ring. LeBron has accomplished something truly amazing in this era of basketball, but, with a beast from the West around the corner, he has a long way to go.