The on-court battle between Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant and Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James has been one of the major storylines in this year's NBA Finals, but a winner from this contest has already emerged.
With the Warriors now 3-0 up in the series against the Cavaliers, it's fair to say Durant has finally got the better of James, and that he has now overtaken the four-time NBA MVP as the best player in the league today.
The 2014 MVP scored 31 points, with eight rebounds, and four assists in Wednesday night's 118-113 Game 3 victory, meaning he now has scored 30-plus in all three games of the Finals this year despite going up against Cleveland's icon each and every night.
Durant even stepped up for his team late in the fourth quarter by scoring a crucial three-pointer, against LeBron of all people, giving Golden State the edge they need in order to move to a position where they only need one more win to become the NBA champions for the second time in their history.
It's in the fourth quarter where the separation between Durant and James has emerged in this year's Finals, as across three games, Kevin has outscored LeBron 31-11 in the fourth quarter. Considering how crucial it is for teams to step up in the fourth quarter, and LeBron hasn't been there, it's no wonder the Cavaliers are 3-0 down in the series.
James can say all he wants about not being tired from guarding against Durant, but the numbers don't lie, as most of his stats have been occurring in the first half of contests, rather than the second.
It's not all LeBron's fault though that the Cavs are in the position that they are entering Game 4 later this week, as he's been averaging almost a triple-double every single game while the rest of his teammates, except for Kyrie Irving, have been struggling to make an impact.
The Warriors simply have too much star power. With Durant, Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson for Cleveland to contend with, their superior quality is starting to show more and more each game.
Game 4 is still up for grabs for the Cavaliers, but if LeBron and co. play the way they have been over the previous three games in this one, the NBA Finals are going to be all over before you know it with another series sweep to Golden State.