Golden State was led by its two MVPs Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, who scored 27 and 32 points respectively for the reigning NBA Champions, while this year's leading MVP candidate James Harden scored 32 for the Rockets. By comparison, coming off their 73-9 regular season, the Warriors entered the 2016 Finals as a -220 favorite - a number almost five times less than the favorite they are now. They praised James for accomplishing another historic feat.
The Warriors had a little help from the Rockets who couldn't buy a 3-point basket.
The Cavs already had to win two Game 7s. James has been the betting favorite in just two of his NBA Finals appearances. With James a free agent, Cleveland may see its last, if not its best, shot to win another championship for many years. And he would not be denied an eighth straight trip to the NBA Finals. Overall, the 2018 NBA Playoffs on ESPN - 19 games - averaged a 3.8 metered market rating, up 31 percent from past year. He started for Kevin Love and scored 19 points with eight rebounds, and provided the versatility to switch onto any Boston player on defense in what was Cleveland's best defensive performance statistically of the entire season.
And over these four years since James returned to northeast OH, the Warriors are 17-9 against the Cavaliers. But the one Cleveland got is perhaps King James' crowning achievement, when the Cavaliers overcame that 3-1 deficit to beat the 73-win Warriors in Oakland in Game 7. They find a way to play well enough to keep the games in striking distance so James can will the Cavs across the finish line, and that will be the strategy again starting Thursday at Oracle Arena.
James, a 14-time All-Star and four-time MVP, nearly single-handedly carried Cleveland to the Finals. Is LeBron the greatest player of all time?
When it comes to the Warriors, much will depend on how the team fares from behind the arc. If LeBron says he wants 23 yellow M&M's before every game then do it, if he asks for his own row on the chartered plane then do it, if the Lebron wants 50% stake ownership of the team when his career is over then I say do it! Oddsmakers will have a tough time finding a healthy spread for these games, so there could be an edge taking the home teams early in the series.
Colin Ward-Henninger: Is LeBron James capable of willing his inferior group to a win against one of the best teams of all time?