In the end, Houston fell to the defending champion Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals Monday evening. If the Finals follow the pattern each team set to win their respective conference championships, the third quarter will be pivotal each time.
When asked if Love would be able to play in Game 1 on Thursday (9 p.m. ET, ABC), Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said, "I hope so". His defense has been fantastic, and that's where he could have the biggest impact in the Finals. That's cool, I think.
A good part of that is because they got into halfcourt duels with San Antonio and Houston, but it's also because they were too willing to fall into the isolation game.
"Same reaction as I've had to every last one of them this year", James said after shootaround at Madison Square Garden back in April.
Green has not shot the three-pointer well, but his slashing and scoring ability opens things up for other players, and he is one of the Cavs' best screen-setters.
Iguodala, a member of the U.S. 2012 Olympic gold medal team, is in his 14th National Basketball Association season and fifth with the Warriors, with career averages of 12.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists a game. In Game 6, staving off elimination, Thompson had 21 of his game-high 35 points in the second half. So I definitely want to make an impact, but we'll see how that goes. If James and the Cavaliers win Game 1, you know, the interest is going to skyrocket because they are going to have done what very few except for them, maybe, think they can do, which is win at Golden State.
Iguodala averaged 8.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists in his three games against the Rockets, playing a little more than 27 minutes per game.
King James stands in the way of a Warriors repeat, just as he did in spoiling that quest for Golden State and leading the Cavs to a championship two years ago with a Game 7 win on the Warriors' home court, where they have now won 17 of the last 18 postseason games.
That was the theme of a conference call this week with ESPN NBA Finals analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson as reporters probed the former coaches to try to figure out if they were bored with the matchup. Just trying to get back as soon as possible.
Using the hashtag, #LABron, the two billboards displayed messages of "FORGET THE PROCESS, WE WIN BANNERS!" and "Cleveland & Philly, You Can't Compete with L.A".