'King' James reigns as Cavs book rubber match with Warriors

We all feel like we put ourselves in a great position to go further in the season, especially the last game. Not for a second.

The Warriors, riding a historic 12-0 postseason run, opened as series favorites ranging from minus-220 at Station Casinos to minus-260 at the South Point and Westgate sports books with the Cavaliers a plus-180 'dog at Stations and plus-220 at the South Point and Westgate.

Game 1: Cleveland at Golden State When: Thursday, June 1 - 9 p.m.

The Boston Celtics showed this postseason that they have players who could fill in for Isaiah Thomas when the star point guard was injured. Love scored Cleveland's first eight points in a span of 53 seconds.

It bears repeating because, well, they're a heavy underdog in the 2017 Finals to the Golden State Warriors. "We're in the NBA Finals". It's the matchup most expected, the matchup most predicted, and probably the matchup the Cavaliers and Warriors wanted as well. "I know there's a little bit of history with these two teams in the Finals the last few years".

No one will threaten James' top spot for some time.

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. He finished with 35 points and had the record to himself at 5,995. Our goals were set at the beginning of the season, and that's to win a championship.

The Celtics' slogan for these playoffs was actually pretty clever.

James scored 35 points and passed Michael Jordan to become the NBA's all-time playoff scoring leader as the Cavaliers routed the Boston Celtics 135-102 on Thursday night to claim their third straight Eastern Conference title.

The comparisons between LeBron and Jordan are becoming more justified by the day. Of course, just before Hamlet says "there's the rub" he says "perchance to dream" - which is how every player on the National Basketball Association court got there in the first place, following a dream.

James, for his part, sounded as though he was simply blown away to be mentioned in the same sentence as His Airness.

For James, moving past Jordan was especially meaningful. But superficialities aside, James has never been a Jordan clone, never had Jordan's assassin-like single-mindedness as a scoring machine. How stiff, once again, was the competition compared to James' team's path?

"There are so many good teams. And if and when we get to that point, I want to annihilate them". "Scoring the ball is so heralded in our sport".

"The whole underdog thing is amusing to me, because, yeah, at the end of the day we are defending our title", Love said Saturday, per ESPN's Dave McMenamin. "It means that I've got to go straight to work tomorrow, but I'm looking forward to watching some of these prospects". And they've added an unbelievable player in Kevin Durant this year.

While Jordan has a slightly better playoff three-point percentage than James, James has a higher percentage on two-point shots. And others see it as very likely, too.

The Cavaliers are the NBA's defending champion. That same $100 correctly wagered on a Cleveland repeat brought a projected return of $220.

Thomas said the Celtics are committed to putting him on the best path to long-term health.

  • Julie Sanders