The Spurs are still the best-coached team in the league and can play solid defense without Leonard, but they had no answer for Curry. Durant has heard so much criticism for leaving Oklahoma City and moving to Golden State last summer.
Cleveland-Golden State 3.0 is the matchup fans worldwide expected and wanted, and James believes they're in for quite a show. A student of the game, he's old school with a fresh perspective.
If that sounds familiar, it's because it's the third consecutive meeting between the Cavs and the Warriors in the Finals.
HOME COURTS: Oracle Arena in Oakland and Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland are two of the loudest joints in the National Basketball Association, though some of the noise at the Q is generated by sheer PA volume. His players credit Lue's soothing, steady influence - on and off the floor - as almost as vital to their success as a clutch Kyrie Irving 3-pointer.
The Jordan-versus-James debate, he said, is only "great for barbershops".
"Our feeling going in is a little bit different". I'm surprised too, like what the hell is everybody talking about? I think my messaging is important and we've found the right balance between, ok, I'll help out here but I'm not going to be on the sidelines during the game and Mike and the rest of the staff have done a great job.
Is this the biggest challenge of his career?
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).
Lue's defensive strategy to this point in the playoffs has been to neutralize the opponents' top player. Brown spent two stints coaching the Cavs but beat Lue in a shooting contest nearly two decades ago when Lue was an National Basketball Association newcomer. Cleveland blitzed, double-teamed and did all it could take away the other team's offensive threat.
It spoke to so many dynamics, but chief among them was the notion that Golden State doesn't plan to play fair.
"Hell yeah", he said, his voice rising. From that point forward, Brown has taken charge of the team and led the Warriors to a flawless 10-0 record, underscoring why Golden State made it a priority to go out and find an experienced head coach to replace Luke Walton as Kerr's lead assistant last summer.
"No drugs, no gambling, no known domestic issues, but there's still something that prevents him becoming that all-around hero, " said Charles Grantham, who guided the National Basketball Players Association for much of the Jordan era, and is now the director of a sports-management program at Seton Hall. They have a lot of options. Steph is making tough shots, Klay is making tough shots and KD is making tough shots. Kyrie can finish in just about any scenario no matter who is contesting him.
After nine first-half turnovers led to 13 points for the Celtics, who had just three turnovers over the first 24 minutes, the Cavaliers committed just six miscues in the third and fourth quarters.
The Cavs hold him in the highest regard, as anyone might with the league's single-season all-time 3-point record holder. He said he needs to be more aggressive and can't only take 11 shots in a game. A panel of analysts and fans give the NBA Finals an average chance of 71.5 percent to be won by the Warriors, versus just a 28.5 percent chance that the Cavaliers will go home with the trophy. "So you're doing all that for no reason".
"I've played against Ray (Allen), KG (Kevin Garnett), Paul (Pierce), (Rajon) Rondo and Doc (Rivers)", James said. They know the pain that comes with losing a Finals, particularly one where a 3-1 series lead gets wasted.
It's not a stretch at all to say the Warriors will be back in this position again next year, but when you're there, you have to seize the moment. There were a couple of long stretches in the regular season where the team struggled. Applying pressure on the splash brothers while they attempt to guard him can wear them down on the other end.