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NBA Finals Preview: Racial slur sprayed on LeBron James’ Calif. home

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<p>Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James celebrates the team's win over the Toronto Raptors with J.R. Smith after Game 6 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals.</p>

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James celebrates the team's win over the Toronto Raptors with J.R. Smith after Game 6 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James celebrates the team's win over the Toronto Raptors with J.R. Smith after Game 6 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals.

Matthew Clough

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Associated Press

As LeBron James prepares to defend his NBA Championship starting Thursday, he received some bad personal news.

An unidentified person spray painted the N-word on the front gate of James’ home in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles Wednesday morning, said Capt. Patricia Sandoval, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department, which is investigating the incident.

James wasn’t at the home at the time, but the property manager told officers that they believe the incident was captured on surveillance video, Sandoval said. Police are investigating it as an act of vandalism and possible hate crime.

Someone painted over the slur before officers arrived to investigate, Sandoval said. James’ agent, Rich Paul, declined to comment on the vandalism.

LeBron James Los Angeles home

The front gate of a home belonging to Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James is freshly repainted Wednesday, May 31, 201, in Los Angeles. Police are investigating after someone spray painted a racial slur on the front gate of James’ home in Los Angeles on the eve of the NBA Finals. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

James bought the house in 2015 for over $20 million. The 9,440-square-foot home is not James’ primary residence. He lives in Bath, Ohio.

But James also spends time in Southern California, after signing a $15 million developmental deal with Warner Bros. in 2015.

 

The Rematch’s Rematch: Warriors vs. Cavaliers, Game 1

James and the Cleveland Cavaliers face the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals beginning June 1. Game 1 is in Oakland, California.

This is the third consecutive year the two teams have met in the NBA Finals. Last year, the Cavaliers overcame a 3-1 game deficit to win the series in Game 7. The Cavaliers were the first team ever to achieve such a feat in the NBA Finals.

In 2015, the Warriors edged the Cavaliers in Game 6 to win the championship.

Key Players to Watch in Game 1

  • Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors: Curry’s ability to hit shots, especially the three, will play a significant role in how far the Warriors can go in the finals. Curry ranks third in the league in points scored this season, averaging 28.6 per game. Who ranks higher? Only NBA MVP candidate Russell Westbrook (37.4 ppg) of Oklahoma City and the Cavaliers’ LeBron James (32.5 ppg).
  • Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors: A former University of Texas basketball player, Durant made 53.7 percent of his shots in his first season with the Warriors, the highest he’s ever averaged in the NBA. He’s also coming into the Finals extremely well-rested — he’s played only 33 minutes per game during the postseason. The entire team will also have had nine full days since last playing.
  • LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers: In addition to being the league’s second-best shooter, James also averages 2.15 steals per game, good for fourth-best in the league. He’s also having his best season for defensive rebounds, averaging 7.3 per game.

Expert Analysis

As Game 1 approaches, experts at ESPN are overwhelmingly picking the Warriors to claim victory in the teams’ third finals face-off. In fact, 23 of 28 NBA reporters are picking Golden State to win it all.

FiveThirtyEight gives the Warriors an 83 percent chance to take Game 1, and a 90 percent chance to win the entire series.

FiveThirtyEight projects the Warriors to defeat the Cavaliers in Game 1.

Game 1 of the NBA Finals begins at 8 p.m. central on June 1.

 

 

 

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NBA Finals Preview: Racial slur sprayed on LeBron James’ Calif. home