LeBron James and Kevin Durant each have a lot to play for

by Frankie Norman June 3, 2017, 4:17

Mike Mayer (@MikeMayer_): The Cavs can win this series because of LeBron, but a lot of things will have to go their way.

This image has quickly gone viral and is sporadically trending on Twitter.

This might sound odd, but LeBron James is used to being the underdog.

They figure to be electrified for the opener after watching the Cavaliers celebrate their first crown on the Warriors' court in a seventh-game thriller.

Metro's sports editors predict the 2017 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Durant is averaging 25.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.2 blocked shots a game in the Warriors' ideal playoff start.

For the Cavaliers, back-to-back titles would be something a championship-starved city could have never expected.

So, here to help is Chris Manning of SB Nation's Fear the Sword to give us some of his thoughts heading into the third of three consecutive Finals meetings between these two teams.

At 32 years of age, the best player of his generation is playing the best basketball of his life.

The Warriors have already cruised into the NBA Finals opening in Oakland with an unprecedented 12-0 playoff record even though Klay Thompson has been far from his best and 2015 Finals MVP Andre Iguodala has struggled to make open shots.

This series also features 11 players who have been named All-Stars in their careers, including seven this year.

Durant's injury? I'll say he's rested, after averaging 26.2 points per game the last two rounds.

"I feel good about our chances", LeBron James said this week. However, I'm not sure what the Cavs can do differently to close the gap, as game one was downright ugly.

SMALL FORWARD: Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James. They can shoot. They can get hot and blow out any team.

No one said it's easy to guard Golden State. While Cleveland is a little healthier, Golden State picked up one of the best players in the world during the off season by signing Kevin Durant. In the climatic Game 7 of the 2016 Finals, the score was tied at 89 with less than a minute to go.

The Warriors scored the first 13 points of the third quarter as the Cavs committed four more turnovers before James finally scored for the Cavs, ending their drought with a 3-pointer at 7:52.

For their part, the Cavs have also made an impressive run to the Finals with their only playoff blemish a Game Three loss to Boston in the East final.

The Warriors are on a roll and have more individual talent than Cleveland does, but their cakewalk to the NBA Finals hasn't done them any favors in preparation for their first dose of real postseason competition they're about to face.

"What happened in the past in my mind doesn't really count now unless we go out and finish the deal", he said. But it is just as hard to count LeBron out of any series he plays in, especially with the way Kyrie has played in the past two games.

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