Lakers move up NBA championship odds after LeBron James’ decision
And he's been that way throughout the playoffs. James has had exceptional games in the Finals before. Game 7 in comes to mind. But you'd be hard-pressed to find any game in which he was as good as he was Thursday night, when he scored 51 points on of shooting, grabbed eight rebounds and dished eight assists.
He has now done it twice, both times against the Warriors. He's tough to stop. He was sublime, and there was a very real debate at the time about whether he was close to passing James as the best player in the league. That debate has ceased for now. James has been that good. And Durant has been something close to mortal in the past two rounds of the playoffs.
He's still scoring in bunches. Thursday he had 26 points, nine rebounds and six assists. But he was an inefficient 8-for from the field, mostly on isolation plays. That has been a recurring theme for Durant lately. During the Western Conference finals against the Houston Rockets , he admitted to losing confidence at various points in the series, as the Rockets baited him into the iso-heavy offensive game he thought he'd left behind in Oklahoma City two years ago as a free agent.
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Oddsmakers are tabbing the Golden State Warriors as the favorite to win their third NBA championship in a row, while the rest of the field is pegged to where LeBron James decides to play next season. Nevertheless, with the star quartet of guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson and forwards Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson locked into place, the Warriors look as unsurpassable as ever.
Despite Curry and Durant missing chunks of last season with injuries, the Warriors have still averaged 66 regular-season wins over the last four years.
James is expected to leave the Cavaliers by opting out of his contract, which for futures betting purposes at this point means that one team is significantly undervalued. Going to California offers him a chance to consolidate basketball and business interests, while the Lakers also have the salary-cap flexibility to add other stars and give James a strong enough supporting cast to challenge Golden State. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.
The two-time defending champion Warriors are a favorite on the NBA championship odds for at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.