No surprise: It's Cavs-Warriors in the NBA Finals, again

LeBron continues annual summer tradition of dominance

There was Irving breaking ankles and spinning in double-pump layups off the glass. But there's no question James is a more well-rounded player than Jordan. The Cavs lost one game in these playoffs - Game 3 to Boston - by three points on a night when James suffered through one of the worst playoff games of his illustrious career. But superficialities aside, James has never been a Jordan clone, never had Jordan's assassin-like single-mindedness as a scoring machine. "I was like, 'If I'm not scoring the ball, how can I still make an impact on the game?' It's carried me all the way to this point now, and it's going to carry me for the rest of my career because scoring is not No. 1 on my agenda".

That's how LeBron James saw it. He played limited minutes, by his standards, in both Games 3 and 4 as Mike Brown eased him back into action. In Las Vegas on Friday, $100 plunked down on the Warriors to win the title promised to pay about $39. "We have a bigger goal in mind". We've played that way, and maybe people don't appreciate it because of a blowout or because of a sweep. "That's basically what happened". That summer James made his return to Cleveland.

For James, moving past Jordan was especially meaningful.

"I've gotta do what's best for me in the long run, what's best for my body", Thomas said.

"I think what it has to do with, it has to do with the fact he's got a nice, long, fat contract with the Cavs and he realizes that he can finally afford to pay me the money that he owes me for the shooting game back in 2000 or whenever it was", Brown said with a grin.

"I think I fell in love with the game because of Mike, but when you're growing up and seeing Michael Jordan it's nearly like a god, so I never did believe I could be Mike".

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"Mike, I owe him $100 from when I was a rookie". With 40 more points, James could also become the first player in National Basketball Association history to score 6,000 points in the playoffs. I want the fundamentals of the game to be as great as they can be. That was my mindset when I started playing the game. "He would have reminded me of like a Joel Embiid, how he's able to stretch it out there and shoot the ball like he is", Conley said, referring to Philadelphia's rookie center.

James says he wants to be known, and remembered, as more than a scorer. "We know what he brings to this game as a whole, brings to this league, our organization". But now greenhouse gases reflect that heat back at the Earth, even at night, keeping us toasty if we don't have the a/c on full blast.

And now the stage is set. Cleveland, which seemed sleepy at times in the regular season, went 12-1 in the Eastern Conference playoffs that ended with a win over Boston on Thursday night. It may not have been as easy as they made it look, but now the real challenge looms: the mighty Golden State Warriors, who went 12-0 in their Western Conference playoffs run and are looking to extract revenge after being up 3-1 in last year's Finals before losing to these Cavaliers.

An unprecedented Finals trilogy was finally set, and still, James had no interest or energy to engage the topic. Moments later, his teammates Love, Tristan Thompson and JR Smith wandered into the room, carrying with them the Eastern Conference Championship trophy and took seats alongside James.

"I thought we played a little too haphazard tonight", Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. I'm very happy about our accomplishment.

Act III in this trilogy is overloaded with story lines, with the biggest being whether James and Co. have enough firepower to go toe-to-toe with the Warriors, who added superstar Kevin Durant to a team that won 73 games a year ago before its Finals flameout.


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