LeBron James leads the Cavaliers to their third-straight meeting with the Golden State Warriors starting Thursday night at Oracle Arena in Oakland
Everyone knew the two teams were on a collision course.
Barring an unforeseen stumble or season-ending injury to a key player, most who follow the NBA knew the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors were destined to play once-again for he NBA title in 2017.
However, the Warriors wanted to take no chances and went out and added former MVP Kevin Durant to their already high-powered team. The Cavs didn't add the star power of Durant, but did add key veteran pieces Kyle Korver and Deron Williams from last year's championship team.
The Warriors won the title in 2015 with the Cavs missing injured Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. The Cavs won the 2016 title with a historic comeback from being down 3-1 in the series.
This sets the stage for the third part of the trilogy.
Despite the Cavs 12-1 record in the playoffs in 2017, the Warriors have been better, sweeping all three of their opponents. If the Cavs wouldn't have let a 21-point lead slip away in Game 3 against the Celtics, they too would be 12-0.
Despite the Cavaliers level of play in the playoffs, most experts, including the Las Vegas betting lines have the Warriors heavy favorites to win the series.
However, James said on Sunday that despite the odds, he likes the Cavs chances.
“I feel good about our chances. Very good.”
James, 32, says he's not concerned with all the hype about the Warriors.
“I don’t get involved in the hype, but I do know both teams are better than last year’s teams,” James said. “We’re a better Cavaliers team and they’re a better Warriors team. What does that mean? We don’t know yet.
“I’m honored and I’m happy and I’m extremely excited to be a part of The Finals again," he said. "I don’t know anything else at this point.”
James won the title with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013 and then last year with the Cavs. This will be his seventh-straight NBA Finals appearance.
Arguably, the 2017 version of the Cavaliers might be the best team James has ever been on, but unfortunately, the Warriors roster standing in the way of a repeat championship for Cleveland might even be better.
“All I care about is how well we work together and how much of a team that we play together,” James said. “Talent will only get you so far. You’ve got to be able to sacrifice and dedicate and fight for one another throughout the course of a season, throughout battles.”
Cleveland and Golden State's combined 24-1 playoff record is the best in NBA history as the Finals begin Thursday night at 9 pm.
“It’s going to be very challenging,” James said. “Those guys are going to challenge me. They’re going to challenge our ballclub. This is a high-powered (Warriors) team.”