Warriors are first to beat a LeBron-led team seven straight games

OAKLAND, Calif. -- LeBron James once destroyed the promising core of Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison by beating the Washington Wizards three years in a row in the playoffs.

He ended the reign of the Detroit Pistons and contributed to the breakup of their stars by upsetting them in the 2007 conference finals and has since taken them out of the postseason twice more.

He ended the Chicago Bulls' season four times in a span of six years; no wonder Joakim Noah famously dislikes James.

Three times in a row he crushed the Indiana Pacers in the playoffs, even when they had one of their best teams in history and executed a season-long mission to get home-court advantage over him.

He cleared the hurdle of the Boston Celtics in the end, beating them twice on the way to winning NBA titles and forcing the breakup of their Big Three.

He has played the Atlanta Hawks in the playoffs three times and is 12-0 against them.

He has owned Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder, going 17-4 head-to-head and forcing them to watch him celebrate a title.

We've witnessed so many nights of James walking triumphantly out of arenas with broken spirits in his wake, suit buttoned, sunglasses on, smile on his face. The opposition so often feeling so helpless, their roster moves and game plans and midseason trades aimed at taking his team down reduced to meaningless gestures. He was always better and the losers just had to deal with reality by swallowing that jagged pill.

And so here was James Sunday night, so eager to escape Oracle Arena that he skipped his postgame ice treatment session to get dressed and out of the locker room as fast as possible. Being on the other side of that helpless feeling is just no fun. No fun at all.

The Golden State Warriors have now vanquished James and the Cleveland Cavaliers seven consecutive times dating to last year's Finals. They won the Larry O'Brien Trophy in James' building. They ruined his Christmas. They joked they could still smell the champagne when they came to Cleveland this season and then kicked the Cavs all over their own court to back it up.

Never before had James lost seven times in a row to an opponent. The closest was six to the Celtics in 2010 and 2011. That bothered him so much that not only did he change teams to figure out a way to beat them, but when he finally took Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen out of the playoffs, he collapsed in emotion.

Even the San Antonio Spurs -- who have taken two rings from James -- had their souls crushed in the 2013 Finals and James performed the coup de grace personally in Game 7. He will always have that one and the Spurs will probably never fully get over it.

But these Warriors have turned the tables and given it to James like he has given it to so many others. The Cavs just haven't been good enough. The Warriors are just too talented, too vicious and too well-coached.

The concept of a James-led team getting outscored by 48 points in two games is hard to fathom. So, too, is the fact the Cavs, who pride themselves as an offensive juggernaut, have now gone 10 games against Golden State without cracking 100 points. James has repeatedly been stripped by Andre Iguodala or smothered by Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut. His streak of 16 straight Finals games with at least 20 points ended in Sunday's blowout loss.

"They just beat us at every -- we didn't win anything," James said. "No points of the game did we beat them in anything ... they beat us pretty good."

He said those words Sunday, but James could have said the same thing on numerous occasions during these seven straight losses. And it sounds just like versions of what Arenas, Noah, Pierce, Durant, Paul George and Al Horford said after taking one of their beatings at the hands of James over the years.

Fine players all, some of them with the Hall of Fame in their future. But they've all had to deal with the fact that they share a time with a historically great player who holds them down. It's a part of life and a part of business. The black swan shows up. Someone builds a better widget. Someone is taller, faster and stronger. The younger lion rises to push his father out of the pride.

That is now the Warriors with their stars and their system and style. James has been the No. 1 nightmare generator for a decade. But now when he tries to sleep, he's the one who can't get Green, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson out of his mind.

Payback is turning out to be, well, you know.

"This is a great team, and I stated that before the series ever started," James said. "They've got two of the best shooters that we've ever seen, and they're a great team."