CLEVELAND — The Golden State Warriors left no doubt that they’re the best team in the NBA and a modern-day dynasty, all at the expense of LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
The Warriors easily completed their sweep of the NBA Finals on Friday night, burying Cleveland, 108-85, in Game 4 to capture their second straight NBA championship and third in four years. They also might have ended James’ second chapter with the Cavaliers.
This was the fourth straight time the two teams have met in the NBA Finals, but this was the least competitive series. The fact that James can’t get by the Warriors, especially since Kevin Durant took his talents to the Bay, has many believing that this was his last game with the Cavaliers.
“I have no idea at this point,” James said. “I don’t have an answer for you right now as far as that.”
James already left the Cavaliers once, in 2010, when he felt his team was overmatched. He returned in 2014, and in 2016, he followed through on his promise to deliver a championship to Cleveland. But the Cavaliers are overmatched again. They don’t have the talent, depth or heady players to beat the Warriors. Golden State has lost only one playoff series in four years and has dispatched the Cavaliers in nine games the last two years.
“There’s no real success in the postseason when you lose, not for me,” James said. “You never want to lose, especially in this fashion, when you’re a competitor.”
James has been linked to the Lakers, 76ers, Rockets and Spurs if he opts out of his contract. Those rumors will only heat up now that the Cavaliers were disposed of so easily.
James didn’t appear as engaged in this game as he was in the first three of this series or throughout this postseason, when he carried the Cavaliers. It was reminiscent of 2010, when he looked uninterested as the Cavaliers were eliminated by Boston in Game 6 of the conference semifinals.
James had 23 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, six turnovers and five fouls in Game 4. He had only one field goal in the second half and none during the third quarter, when the Warriors outscored Cleveland 25-13 to take an 86-65 lead.
James wore a soft cast on his right hand after the game from what he called “a self-inflicted injury.” He said he “pretty much played the last three games with a broken hand” after punching a whiteboard after his team’s meltdown in Game 1.
James exited Game 4 with 4:03 left and received a loud “M-V-P” chant from the Cleveland fans.
Durant was named MVP of the series for the second straight year. He followed up his 43-point Game 3 with a triple-double in the clincher: 20 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.
“I feel so grateful to be a part of a group like this,” he said. “To win two championships, that’s what you want as an NBA player.”
Stephen Curry was brilliant after a subpar Game 3. Curry scored 37 points and shot 7-for-15 from three-point range. He had 11 points and shot 3-for-16 overall Wednesday.
The Warriors took a 61-52 halftime lead on Curry’s three-pointer over James with five seconds left. Curry scored 20 in the first half.
The Warriors scored the first six points of the third quarter to extend their lead to 67-52 and just kept attacking. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers played like a team resigned to its fate.
Klay Thompson, who was scoreless in the first half, buried a wide-open three-pointer to make it 75-58, and the Warriors led by 21 points after three quarters.
“The Cavaliers had an amazing run,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Bottom line is we’ve got a lot of talent, and we had more talent than they did, and talent wins in this league.”