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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Cavaliers forward LeBron James takes questions at a press conference Thursday. The Cavaliers are down 3-0 in the NBA Finals.

Friday, June 08, 2018 1:00 am

NBA Finals

James sees end of line for Cavs

TOM WITHERS | Associated Press

Schedule

Who: Cleveland vs. Golden State

Series: Warriors lead 3-0

Game 1: Golden State 124, Cleveland 114, OT

Game 2: Golden State 122, Cleveland 103

Game 3: Golden State 110, Cleveland 102

Game 4: Golden State at Cleveland, 9 p.m. today

Game 5: Cleveland at Golden State, 9 p.m. Monday*

Game 6: Golden State at Cleveland, 9 p.m. June 14*

Game 7: Cleveland at Golden State, 8 p.m. June 17*

* If necessary

CLEVELAND – LeBron James was relaxed, reflective and even resigned to his fate.

The end of the series, season and maybe his second stint in Cleveland, are near.

The Golden State Warriors have made his eighth straight NBA Finals – and their seasonal rivalry with the Cavaliers – one-sided.

Still weary and wrestling with emotions after losing Game 3 on Wednesday night, when Kevin Durant scored 43 points and shot the Warriors within one win of their third title in four years, James pointed out Thursday what has become terrifyingly obvious.

The Warriors are at another level.

“Obviously, from a talent perspective, if you're looking at Golden State from their top five best players to our top five players, you would say they're stacked better than us. Let's just speak truth,” James said before rattling off Golden State's embarrassment of riches.

“Kevin Durant,” he said. “You've got two guys with MVPs on their team. And then you've got a guy in Klay (Thompson) who could easily be on a team and carry a team, scored 40 in a quarter before. And then you have Draymond (Green), who is arguably one of the best defenders and minds we have in our game. So you have that crew.

“Then you add on a Finals MVP coming off the bench (Andre Iguodala), a No. 1 pick in (Shawn) Livingston and an All-Star in David West and whatever the case may be. So they have a lot of talent.”

Too much, it seems, for these Cavs.

James wasn't making excuses for Cleveland's postseason pickle because if not for a reversed official's call or J.R. Smith's brain-lock in the closing seconds of regulation in Game 1 or Durant's brilliance in Game 3, the Cavs could be leading the series.

The three-time champion, though, was being open and honest about the Cavs' chances to become the first team to overcome a 3-0 deficit in the playoffs.

To this point, 131 have tried, and 131 have failed.

“We've been in a position where we could win two out of these three games,” said James, who had 33 points in Game 3. “So what do we have to do? Do we have to make more shots? Is it we have to have our minds into it a little bit more? Is it if there is a ball on the ground we can't reach for it but you've got to dive for it?”

Those are today's relevant questions. Saturday, they'll be different ones if the Warriors sweep the Cavs.

James is headed toward free agency and then where: Los Angeles? Philadelphia? Houston?

Or will he decide it's too painful to part again with Cleveland?

The 33-year-old plans to consider everything once the season ends, but he offered some clues about what he'll consider before making his next move. James also laid out a potential blueprint for the Cavs to follow if they want to keep him.

Bottom line: James needs better, smarter teammates.