Despite the 104-91 loss to the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 of the 2015 NBA Finals, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James told the media afterward he remains unfazed because "I'm the best player in the world."
LeBron James feels he's the best player in the world.
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This was what James told ESPN's Brian Windhorst and the media after the Cleveland Cavaliers' 104-91 loss to the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 of the 2015 NBA Finals on June 14.
"I feel confident because I'm the best player in the world," James quipped. "It's that simple."
James notched a triple-double with 40 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists in the Game 5 loss. Windhorst stresses it's the second time in the series that he has made a bold remark which has made headlines.
After James scored 44 points in the Cavaliers' Game 1 loss, he downplayed the notion the Warriors allowed him to score while trying to contain the rest of his teammates.
"You don't let me have 40," James told ESPN. "I go get 40."
James also told the media after the Game 5 loss he believes his team still has what it takes to win the championship, per ESPN:
"We're going home with a Game 6, and we've got enough to win it. We protect home, we come (back to Golden State). We'll worry about Tuesday first. But if we protect home like we're capable of doing, we force a Game 7."
His head coach, David Blatt, told Windhorst how tremendous his performance in the NBA Finals has been:
"LeBron has been tremendous -- (that is) even an understatement for how he's played in the series. Under the current set of circumstances, that's what we've got to get, and he's bringing it.
"You don't see that every day, what he's doing. You've got to take your hat off to him, too."
James has been averaging 36.6 points, 12.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists against the Warriors. He is just the second player in NBA Finals history to notch a 40-point triple-double. Jerry West was the first one to achieve the feat in 1969, per ESPN.
Windhorst stresses the historical relevance of this fact: If the Warriors go on to win the title, James has a chance to be the first losing NBA Finals MVP since West.
The Northeast Ohio Media Group's Joe Vardon says no one has ever averaged 35 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in NBA Finals history, so James is in a good position to do whate no player has ever done.
Windorst adds James has a "secret motivation" in the series against Golden State. He has refused to go into detail, but it could be him finishing third in the regular-season MVP award behind Curry and James Harden.
Sources told ESPN this irked James because he feels he did more with less.
Windorst says James winning the NBA Finals MVP should help offset him losing to Curry, who scored 37 points in Game 5, in the regular season.
In a separate Northeast Ohio Media Group update, James told Vardon he gives credit to Curry for a great performance. However, he feels the Cavaliers giving up too many fastbreak points and second-chance points were the the real reasons why they lost Game 5:
"I thought he was great. You tip your hat off to a guy like that. He made seven threes. I don't know, were any of them not contested, hand in his face, falling, stepback off the dribble? I'm okay with that.
"We're okay with that. I mean, you tip your hat to a guy who makes shots like that, and he's the guy that can do it in our league. He's the best shooter in our league.
"But that's not why we lost. We gave up 18 fastbreak points. We gave up 15 second-chance points. Steph was special, obviously, but him hitting those stepback threes is not why we lost the game."
Game 6 of the 2015 NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors is set for June 16 at Quicken Loans Arena with a 9:00 p.m. ET tip-off.
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