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LeBron James says he isn't tired guarding Kevin Durant because 'I'm averaging a triple double'

By Joe Vardon • Jun 7, 2017 at 8:30 PM

CLEVELAND — With all this discussion about the pace of play in the NBA Finals, or the arduous task of guarding Kevin Durant, LeBron James isn't letting the idea that he's "tired" enter the conversation.

"Do I look tired?" James said this morning. "I'm averaging a triple-double in the Finals. I'm pretty good, I would think."

James is indeed averaging 28.5 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists through two games of the Finals. Game 3 is at 9 p.m. tonight.

Like last season, the Warriors have won the first two games. James went on to lead both teams in all five major statistical categories (points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals) and the Cavs won the Finals in seven games.

Durant, though, was not on the court last season. He's already scored 71 -- though not all of them against James -- while the player Durant replaced from last season (Harrison Barnes) scored just 65 points for the entire 2016 Finals.

According to research from ESPN, the first two games of this series were played at a faster pace than any game previously in James' playoff career. The pace was particularly fast in the first half; for instance, the pace of play in the first quarter of Game 2 was the single fastest pace of any quarter in James' 14-year career.

After dominating the first half of Game 2, James did not attempt any drives and only ran with the ball in transition three times during the second half of Game 2 -- a suggestion that he may in fact have been tired.

James opened Game 2 guarding Durant, but Richard Jefferson and Iman Shumpert also took turns guarding him.

"Durant's a tough cover," Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said on Tuesday. "Just like LeBron started on him to set the tone early, try to bring a physicality to him. And then after that, we got to put other guys on him so LeBron can get his rest. We ask him to score, score the basketball, pass the basketball. So with Shump on him, with R.J. on him, just try to give him different looks.

"It's going to be tough to guard him one-on-one anyway, so having LeBron off the ball where he's able to get some steals and roam a little bit and play free safety, it was good for us. So we'll see how it goes."

A reporter said to James that it looks like the Warriors are out to embarrass the Cavs after losing last year's Finals. He said "They are playing exceptionally well.

"I want to win just as bad as they do and obviously they probably got a bad taste in their mouth after what happened last year and we had one in our mouth last year from what happened the year before," James said. "I've had a few bad tastes in my mouth from what happened in the Finals, so and I've always had that feeling so it never changed for me."

But, can the Cavs win?

"We have an opportunity to protect home and if we do that, we'll put ourselves back in the series," he said.

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