And when they delivered one last dose of routine dominance Friday night, polishing off the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-85 to complete an NBA Finals sweep, it was as if someone had yelled "spoiler alert!" way back on opening night. After dropping a monstrous 51 points in Game 1 of the Finals, James' approach did appear different in Games 2, 3, and 4.
It was the first sweep in the NBA Finals since 2007, when James was dismissed by a powerful San Antonio team in his first one.
It hurts now, but LeBron has been through too much - 15 seasons, eight straight NBA Finals appearances and now six Finals losses (behind only Jerry West's eight and Elgin Baylor's seven all-time) - to totally sulk through this latest challenge. In three games against Golden State, Cleveland is 28-for-95 from three-point range - a 29.5 percent clip.
It doesn't quite rise to the level of a war of words - these two teams spend a lot of time complimenting one another - but Stephen Curry took mild umbrage with something James said after Game 3.
Cleveland has battled back from an 11-point deficit to regain the lead in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. Kevin Love, J.R. Smith and Rodney Hood added a combined 33 points, but shot just 11-35 from the field. They outscored the Cavaliers 25-13 in the session and started carving the word "Dynasty" on their third trophy.
Durant supplemented Curry's big scoring night with the first Finals triple-double of his career with 20 points, 12 rebounds and a postseason-career-high 10 assists.
Expected to win it all, and at times buckling under the burden, the Warriors succeeded about as spectacularly as possible.
Congrats to the Warriors, they played with more effort and the will of a championship team.
The Warriors, who boast what may be the greatest offensive juggernaut that basketball has ever known, used a dominant third quarter to build a 21-point lead that left the Cavaliers' hopes of a series comeback in their wake. After the game, LeBron called Durant's three an "assassin play".
"They are going to come out with a flurry", Kevin Durant said.
Klay Thompson, who did not score in the first half, scored 10 points to lead Golden State to an 86-65 lead after three quarters. "I had emotions that you just don't get an opportunity like this on the road against Golden State to be able to get a Game 1".