Guarding Durant taking a toll on LeBron? 'I'm averaging a triple-double'


No matter how many points James scored, no matter how much they improved from game to game, it looked like the Warriors were the better team.

LeBron James has not only made the NBA Finals a regular appearance for himself, he has now put himself alone in the record books. And yet, it wasn't enough.

The Cavs went cold in the final 2:48 of the game as Golden State finished on an 11-0 run on their way to a 118-113 win, and a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Home teams in the National Basketball Association have such an advantage when it comes to how the referees call the game, whether you want to believe it or not.

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However, James - who contributed 39 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists on Wednesday - is under no illusion as to the scale of the task facing his team when they meet again at Quicken Loans Arena on Friday.

Indeed, the only similarity is both Warriors teams entered Game 3 on the road with a 2-0 series lead.

The Warriors scored 132 points on those 89 shots, helped immensely by 18 three-pointers, and 22 for 24 from the free throw line. Just an fantastic offensive machine. Asked what should be at the top of the Cavs' to-do list for Game 3, James said, simply, "Win". The players also would take defense more seriously. "I played against some great teams, but I don't think no team has had this type of firepower". The NBA playoffs, in general, have been a series of blowouts and stale games that have left fans heading for the exit gates early.

Not the Boston Celtics, with Garnett, Pierce, Allen, and Rondo. Not the San Antonio Spurs with Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, and Leonard. Not the Thunder with Durant, Westbrook, and Harden. Even those who hated Durant's decision can't question how it has worked out for him when watching how well he and the Warriors have meshed. I wouldn't even care if the Warriors and Cavs were in the championship against each other every year as long as it wasn't so easy for them to get there.

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The margin of error against the Warriors is razor thin.

James, who actually ended his protest of National Basketball Association podium interviews after Tuesday's practice by again taking reporters' questions on stage, said losses take "a mental toll". James admitted as much afterwards. So obviously I'm drained right now, ready to get home. "We know how hard it is to be the best team in the league".

I mentioned in '3 Shots' that there will be some out there who will nit-pick on some of the things that the Cavs could have done differently. For LeBron, there are no regrets left after Game 3's loss. The above strikes me as exhausted transition defense. Their situations are different - James never joined a team as strong as these Warriors - but he said he's proud of Durant's success and understands why moving to a team like the Warriors was so attractive. Though when LeBron subbed out near the end of the third quarter with his team down 14 points, he was as exhausted as I have ever seen him.

Some impressive company to be sure.

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At one point, it was announced that Green had been given his second technical foul, and security came onto the floor to usher the volatile forward to the locker room.