But that wasn't the way he looked at it. Durant wasn't thinking about lifting trophies or being fitted for championship rings.
"It's the most firepower I've played in my career", said James, who played all but two minutes.
Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and the rest of the Warriors will be able to make that boast if they win Friday to complete the most impressive postseason run in major sports history. And when they finally got a close one, they showed why their roster is the envy of just about every other team, with the long-range shooting of Durant, Curry and Klay Thompson, and the defensive wizardry of Draymond Green and 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala.
If not for their meltdown past year, the Warriors, whose record-setting 73-win season got lost in the Finals aftermath, would be looking for a third straight crown.
He fell well short in his first shot at the title, when James' Miami team beat Oklahoma City in five games in 2012.
As the final seconds ticked off, Cleveland fans chanted "Cavs in 7".
In the early-going, the Warriors didn't just look listless, they looked like they were going 30 miles per hour in the fast lane while the Cavaliers honked their horns and then roared past them. After two blowouts in Oakland, the Cavs and the Warriors treated basketball fans to a Game 3 that was a riveting, dramatic, and one the Cavs and their fans are going to lose a lot of sleep analyzing how they gave it away.
A James 3-pointer put Cleveland ahead 115-96 entering the fourth quarter.
Durant added eight rebounds, four assists, one steal and a blocked shot over 41 minutes of action.
For the Warriors, Curry was getting swarmed all half and only managed six points in the first two periods.
James and Irving were relentless in the second half and it appeared they had done enough to get Cleveland over the top and perhaps back in the series. Steve Kerr said after the game that exhaustion was part of the game plan.
It would also give them their maiden National Basketball Association championship, and complete the sweep on the Cavs.
Big shots and an incredible highlight play where James threw a pass off the backboard to himself and flushed a dunk, fueled their third quarter run. Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,317) and Mr. Logo himself, Jerry West (1,679), have scored more points in the Finals.
And the Cleveland Cavaliers went up 113-107 with 3 minutes, 9 seconds left in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
Though the above shot made-up just 10% of his 31 points on the night, they may well be the three points that kill the Cavs' hopes of defending their crown as no team has ever recovered from a 3-0 playoff deficit in 126 attempts.
The series also serves as a rubber match for the teams.
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant faced plenty of backlash previous year when he joined a ready-made title contender but has proven that he is not simply along for the ride as he closes in on a maiden National Basketball Association championship. It's the first time the same two teams have met in the Finals for three consecutive years. Golden State won 118-113.