If it feels like LeBron James has been historically good in leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 2-1 series lead in the NBA Finals over the Golden State Warriors, well, that's because he has been.
The 40 points he scored in Tuesday's 96-91 victory brought his three-game total to 123 points. That's the highest figure ever through three games in the Finals; he moved past Rick Barry (122), Jerry West (118), Michael Jordan (117) and Shaquille O'Neal (116).
James has been an absolute beast in this series. In Game 1, he scored 44 points while adding eight rebounds and six assists. In Game 2, he notched a triple-double (39 points, 16 rebounds, 11 assists) and played 50 minutes in the overtime contest. It was one of the truly memorable performances in NBA Finals history.
Tuesday night, he continued his dominance, adding 12 rebounds, eight assists, four steals and two blocks to his 40 points. James has dominated this series in every facet, a necessity since the Cavaliers are without Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving.
While some have wondered if playing against league MVP Stephen Curry in this series was motivating James, he didn't exactly give that theory credence, per an ESPN interview (via Ethan J. Skolnick of Bleacher Report):
Whatever is motivating James, it is certainly pushing him to historical heights. What he has done against the Warriors has been nothing short of Herculean, and if the Cavs are going to pull off the series upset, James will need to continue his inspired play.
Anything less, and the gritty, defensive-minded Cavs may have a tough time keeping up with the explosive Warriors.