CLEVELAND - After passing Michael Jordan as the No. 1 all-time playoff scorer last month, LeBron James has now eclipsed Jordan for third place on the all-time NBA Finals scoring list. Bigger than all of them and all of that.
The Warriors entered the game mindful of what had happened against the Cavaliers in Game 3 of the finals last season. That was the case for a good chunk of Game 3, but the Cavs faltered in the final few minutes.
LeBron James recorded a triple-double, Kyrie Irving scored 40 points and Cleveland outperformed the NBA's most electrifying offence in a testy Game 4 filled with technical fouls on Friday night, beating the Warriors 137-116 and ending their ideal post-season. Put simply, that means the Cavaliers outscored the Warriors by seven points with James on the floor. Would still be ahead 116-113 when the Cavs still had a chance to tie.
LeBron James is not one to shy away from a challenge.
Kevin Durant led the way for the Warriors with 35 points.
"I try to keep that same mindset going forward - that if I stay who I am and stay true to who I am, then everything will work out". "I played against some great teams but I don't think no team has had this kind of firepower. I tried to have some guts and make a play for the team". Irving missed his last three shots and James his last two.
But the circumstances that allowed James to sign with Miami were different than what paved Durant's way to Golden State. Need proof? James played 45 minutes and 37 seconds Wednesday, spending just 2 minutes and 23 seconds of the game on the bench. The Cavs went the last three minutes and change in Game 3 without a bucket.
The Warriors are on the verge of doing something never done before - winning the National Basketball Association title without losing a game in the playoffs. Love missed after that. Curry has hit at least one 3-pointer in all 73 career postseason games.
"I've been working on that shot my whole life", said Durant, who has averaged 34 points through the first three games of the series.
James collected 39 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists, and Kyrie Irving added 38 points - and still, it was not enough.
As the series shifted to Cleveland, it was obvious that the Cavs were going to have more energy. "It did take a little bit of time, but for the most part their talents fit together pretty naturally". Iguodala got him this time.
The Warriors have not lost a single game in the Playoffs, and are on 15-0 streak. He could also be named Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP), less than a year after ripping out the hearts of Oklahoma City fans by leaving the Thunder.
The big loss prompted a big splash in the free agent market.
During the playoffs, most of Golden State's wins have not been close. And Golden State wasn't bad.
"We learned from our mistakes", Green said.