LeBron James vs. Stephen Curry: Warriors-Heat Preview

The Warriors are going to need the help of James Harden to keep pace with the Cavs.

They’ll need him to shoot from beyond the arc and take advantage of James’ passing.

The Warriors will also need the assist of Kevin Durant.

And James, who’s not a particularly good shooter from outside the arc, will need to get more of those shots off.

All of these things will help James as he tries to make his third consecutive All-Star Game. 

The Warriors have a lot of good players.

But they need James to help them. 

Here are our rankings of the NBA’s top 20 players heading into the game.


LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavs have won three of the last four games and are in a good spot heading into Game 4. 


Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder: Durant has played the best basketball of his career and is averaging 31.9 points and 12.8 rebounds.

He is shooting 50.7 percent on threes and is the best shooter in the league in the playoffs. 


Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves: Love is averaging 23.9 assists and shooting 46.1 percent from the field in the first two games of the series.

He’s shooting 45.7 and has a team-high four games with 10 or more points. 


LeBron Young, Miami Heat: Young has shot a league-best 43.4 percent from 3-point range and is shooting 61.4 per game from beyond 40. 


Kevin Garnett, New York Knicks: The Knicks are coming off a blowout win over the Cavaliers and have a chance to win their first three games of this series.

But if they’re going to do it, they’ll have to win at home. 


Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers: Lillard is shooting 57.2 percent on 3s and is playing well on both ends of the floor.

He has scored 30 or more in each of his last four. 


Kevin Martin, Los Angeles Clippers: Martin has been playing better than usual and is starting to look more like himself.

The Clippers are 9-3 in their last 11 games. 


Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls: He’s been a key cog in the Bulls offense, averaging 21.4 points and 10.4 rebounds in the last two games.

But he’s shooting 33.4 and has six games with at least 10 points.

The Bulls will have to make up ground on the Cavaliers if they want to win the series for the first time since 1988. 


Blake Griffin, Los Clippers: Griffin has been a consistent scorer and has been among the best in the NBA in both categories.

But his shooting percentage is down and his 3-pointers are down. 


Andrew Bogut, Washington Wizards: Bogut is shooting 39.7 from 3 and is one of the best scorers in the game, averaging 24.5 points and 13.4 assists in the past four games.

He’ll have the benefit of playing with John Wall for the second straight game. 


Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma Thunder: Westbrook is averaging 30.8 points and 17.6 rebounds in his last five games.

His shooting percentage and 3-pointer percentages are also up. 12.

Joakim Noah, Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks have won four of their last five and are 2-0 since starting the playoffs by winning two of their first four games before falling to the Thunder in six.

Noah is averaging 26.3 points and 11.5 rebounds in those games.

They will be a much tougher team than they were when they played in the Western Conference semifinals in 2015. 


Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Browns: Irving is averaging 24 points in the series and has scored in double figures in each game.

He will have the advantage of playing in a different conference after his team went to the NBA Finals last year. 


Kevin Knox, Portland Blazers: Knox has scored 20 or more every time he’s played in a regular-season game in the Portland arena. 


LeBron Wade, Miami Dolphins: Wade is averaging 27.8 ppg and is on pace to become the first player to reach 20,000 points.

He also has a career-high 30 assists and nine steals in the games so far. 


Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors: Green has been the best player on the team in the postseason and has averaged 24.8 and 16.4 ppg. 


Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs: Leonard has scored 29 points in each postseason game he’s been in. 18.

Derrick Favors, Dallas Mavericks: Favors has averaged 18.4 turnovers in the four games he’s missed. 


Kawann Short, Detroit Pistons: Short has averaged 12.4 steals in his first two postseason games.

That’s been more than he’s done in the previous