If the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to overcome a 3-0 deficit in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, LeBron James believes it will be a feat of mental excellence more than anything else.
According to ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin, LeBron acknowledged that physical talent is needed to beat the Warriors, but he also stressed the importance of outthinking them:
"In order to win, you've got to have talent, but you've got to be very cerebral too. Listen, we're all NBA players. Everybody knows how to put the ball in the hoop. But who can think throughout the course of the game?
"This is so challenging for me to sit up here and say, because people who really don't know the game don't really know what I'm talking about. They just think that you go out, and, 'Oh, LeBron, you're bigger and faster and stronger than everybody, you should drive every single time and you should dunk every single play and you should never get tired, never.'
"Like it's a video game and you went on the options and you turned down fatigue all the way to zero and injuries all the way down to zero. So we come back here and we get the minds and we build a championship team."
It has become clear throughout the series (once again) that the supporting cast around LeBron pales in comparison to Golden State's "Big Four" of Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
Even so, Cleveland has had its opportunities to win games in the series, with Game 1 serving as the most obvious example.
In the waning seconds of regulation in Game 1, Cavs guard George Hill missed a free throw with the score tied, and JR Smith proceeded to dribble the ball out when he likely thought Cleveland was ahead. That produced a viral expression of exasperation on LeBron's part, and the Warriors went on to win by 10 in overtime.
James stressed Thursday that the Dubs will always take advantage of such mental mistakes, saying: "When you make mistakes, they make you pay. Because they're already more talented than you are, but they also have the minds behind it too, and they also have the championship DNA."
This marks the fourth year in a row the Cavs and Warriors have met in the Finals, and Golden State is now just one win away from taking three of the past four championships.
Although the Cavaliers may have the world's best player on their side in James, no team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in the NBA Finals.
LeBron and the Cavs will look to avoid a series sweep when they host the Warriors in Game 4 on Friday night.