Unless LeBron James scores 60 points, grabs 20 rebounds and dishes for 10 assists, tonight most likely will be another Golden State Warriors’ NBA championship coronation.
The Warriors have built a monumental 3-0 advantage against LeBron’s Cleveland Cavaliers, who seemingly haven’t been able to get over their Game 1 debacle when they had the game in their hands and let it slip away.
Golden State pummeled Cleveland in Game 2 and then in the pivotal Game 3 to determine whether we were going to have a series or not, the Cavaliers played well, but could not overcome 43 points by the second-best player on the planet, Kevin Durant.
Cleveland will enter tonight’s Game 4 rather dispirited even though it’s at home. The goal now is to just win one game, as nobody likes to get swept.
While the storyline should be about the Warriors’ third championship in four years — and the fact if they keep their core group together they could win another four or five more — the first questions that reporters are going to ask is whether or not LeBron will return to Cleveland next year.
If the Warriors win as expected, I believe LeBron should be given a pass on the question. It’s going to be difficult if the Cavaliers are swept and do you really think LeBron wants to talk about his future moments after pouring his heart and soul into the series? He’s got the rest of the summer to talk about this, let the guy decompress.
Speculation is running rampant. While LeBron is of course a Cleveland guy — he’s from nearby Akron — he’s had a rather contentious relationship with owner Dan Gilbert, who blistered him when he left the first time for South Beach. LeBron’s Ohio roots brought him back and he fulfilled a dream by delivering the Cavaliers their first title in 2016.
But his supporting cast has weakened the last couple of years. Before this season, the Cavs brought in the likes of Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose, players with proven pedigrees but injury prone or in the twilight of their career as is the case with Wade. It didn’t work out and they were all jettisoned, but LeBron still managed to will his cobbled-together cast of retreads into The Finals, where they simply don’t have the talent to match up with the mighty Warriors.
LeBron could return, but at this point in his career he wants another ring or two. That means he’s going to have to go to a top contender, such as Houston, Philadelphia or Boston. It seems there’s a few teams that have separated themselves in terms of talent, but remember LeBron can make an average team look great.
If Cleveland does win and force a Game 5, the Warriors will quit messing around end the series on Sunday.
But my guess is they end it tonight.