In 2015, the Warriors sealed their championship win in the sixth game of the seven-game series, beating the Cavs 105-97 in the final game. Suffice to say it was a special year for Golden State. Maybe there's a lack of appreciation for greatness.
James knows he will have his hands full when the series opens on Thursday in Oakland but said he likes his team's chances of pulling off what Las Vegas would consider an upset. You have to relish in the competition and the players that we're going against.
"That's what makes it hard to have to sit here and say that the man that's hugely responsible for us being in the Finals three years in a row in a moment he should be treasuring can't do it".
Now right back where we were past year with both teams in good health, both with stellar shooters and defenders, and both feeling confident and validated by their respective Conference wins, it's fair for us as spectators to ask ourselves what the difference is and will be in these finals and what it is that one team needs to have over the other to secure the coveted National Basketball Association championship title and the backing to utter the phrase "Kiss the ring" with vindication. None of those teams are the Warriors.
When Kevin Love says this, how does the reporter not say, well, they beat you by 48 points in the first two games past year in the Finals, led 3-1 before the suspension of Draymond Green, and then they added Kevin Durant. So coming into these Finals, we're a lot more focused, and also we're just dialed in. It may not be the first or last time it happens.
James averaged just 17.6 points in the series, nine fewer than he'd averaged during the regular season.
Steamroll isn't hyperbole, Kevin Durant's Warriors have breezed undefeated through a dozen playoff games and LeBron James' Cavaliers have gone 12-1. On the eve of LeBron's eighth Finals appearance, the new narrative in the hater community is that should the Cavs lose to the Warriors, then the recent wave of comparisons between LeBron and Jordan will cease, the hype surrounding LeBron will slow down, and that "best player in the world" title LeBron has either shared or held by himself for about nine years will finally pass to someone else.
The Warriors and the Cavs are making the league unwatchable.
"Want the Warriors?" he said.
This year the Warriors waltzed through the west finishing 12-0 in the playoffs while the Cavs were close behind in the east going 12-1 to set up the third installment of what is being dubbed 'The Trilogy'.
Now they need the rings to go with it. He said that they played differently then each other. Obviously adding an MVP to a team that already has a two-time MVP makes them even more impressive. He has been sidelined since the Portland series and did not travel to Utah for Games 3 and 4 of Golden State's second-round series with the Jazz. He pointed out that his goal is to have people see him as an all-time great player on Michael Jordan's level once he retires and not involving any statistical comparison.
But with prolific Kevin Durant now joining CTG (Curry- Thompson-Green), can James' reign last?
"Like I said, I did pretty much everything that MJ did when I was a kid", James stated. "Just watching him move without the basketball, getting easy baskets off of cuts and splits and when he passes the ball he's also relocating now".
Look, I get it.
Words don't mean much now - not his, not Green's - and neither do underdog labels.
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue wouldn't reveal whether he'll have James guard Durant exclusively.
"When we got to the Finals everybody was kind of caught up into being on the stage and playing names", Marion would say years later, reminiscing about that magical season on the eve of his retirement from the league. That's enough motivation alone. We're not using that as an excuse.
On my podcast last week, we tossed around the fact that Kerr wouldn't want to become the major storyline - and that could play a factor into his decision. As was his sterling, 67-win and champion season in 2014-15.