Behold LeBron James, regardless of what's next


It's been a long season with a lot of those races (and a lot of controversies) for different awards, but it's finally time to seriously start crunching numbers and talk about how they translate.

After three trips to the NBA Finals and one title, there is little doubt Irving enjoyed winning.

It was already insane that this core got any experience in the Eastern Conference Finals last season.

Since coming back to the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James has been the heart and soul of the team, but this year he has had to take even on a bigger role.

The network's impressive ECF has been matched by TNT's broadcast of the Western Conference Finals, which was up 33 percent from a year ago heading into Golden State's Game 7 win over Houston on Monday night.

Tatum had a dunk over James with 6:41 left - staring down the Cavaliers star and bumping him with his chest - then followed it with a 3-pointer that gave the Celtics a 72-71 lead. According to ESPN, the Warriors opened as 12-point favorites for Thursday night's Game 1, which is tied for the largest point spread in an NBA Finals game since 2001, when the Los Angeles Lakers were a 12-point favorite over Allen Iverson's Philadelphia Sixers in Game 1.

Said James, who could be playing his final game in his second stint with the Cavaliers: "Just go out and trust what you've built on all year".

Jayson Tatum paced the Celtic attack with 24 points as Boston suffered their only loss in 11 playoff home games.

"I say this with no disrespect to Jordan", Thomas began. Jeff Green with 19 points.

Cavaliers guard Kyle Korver is amazed at how quickly and well James can recover after a superlative outing. Every action, whether it's panting with his hands on his knees in Game 5 or acting like he tore his ACL in the fourth quarter of Game 6, is seemingly meant to set up some greater narrative.

Love had been averaging 13.9 points per game with 10 rebounds in the postseason this year.

"I was like, 'OK, I am not quite sure what we are going to do with this ball club".

Statistically, James is having perhaps his best postseason, averaging over 30 points in each of the first three rounds.

The Celtics were plagued with injuries, and depending on a collection of players on a rookie contract.