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LeBron undaunted by challenge of facing Warriors in Finals
29 May 2017, 10:30 | Simon Arnold
Draymond Green not bored by another Cavs-Dubs Finals matchup
The magnitude of the challenge the Warriors present the Cavaliers in the Finals was so great, LeBron James wouldn't immediately discuss it because "it's too stressful". But Cleveland's superstar feels "very good" about the Cavaliers' chances to repeat as champions despite being tabbed major underdogs.
When the ball goes up Thursday in the Bay, James will become the seventh player in National Basketball Association history to play in at least seven straight Finals. He pointed to previous matchups against talented San Antonio and Boston teams in the postseason as great preparation for the Warriors.
Both the Cavaliers and Warriors have upgraded their rosters from a year ago, when they went seven games in an epic series that spawned the first comeback from a 3-1 deficit in Finals history and resulted in Cleveland winning its first pro sports championship since 1964.
Set for a third straight championship matchup against Golden State, the Cavs are ignoring the Las Vegas odds makers and others who don't think they have a shot at beating Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant & Co. I think we will use it as fuel.
Love was literally a non-factor during last year's NBA Finals. "And if and when we get to that point, I want to annihilate them".
But as we all know, talking doesn't mean much if the actions on the court don't match. Even LeBron James has conceded that the Warriors are "a beast" and "a juggernaut".
"I've played against Ray (Allen), KG (Kevin Garnett), Paul (Pierce), (Rajon) Rondo and Doc (Rivers)", James said, remembering those Celtics teams from 2008 through 2012 that beat him when he was with the Cavs but he toppled with the Miami Heat.
"Want the Warriors? Like 'Bron said in his postgame presser, they've been right at the top, best team in the league for three years straight now". "It's kind of in our minds that that's who we were going to see". Obviously, adding an MVP [Kevin Durant] to a team that already has a two-time MVP [Curry], that makes them even more impressive. All of them played on Bill Russell's Celtics' teams of the 1950s and 60s; Russell himself played in 10 consecutive Finals.
"First of all, I don't get involved in the hype", James said. It's tough to say that we didn't expect it.
"We're not going to use that as motivation", Lue said.
"I only play blackjack in Vegas anyway, so it doesn't matter", James said of the Las Vegas sportsbooks doubting the Cavs' chances. We had to earn it.' And both teams had to do the same thing.
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