Love grows into role with LeBron in Cavs' title quest

Ross Houston
June 2, 2017

Curry's forgettable NBA Finals past year ended with Kyrie Irving hitting the deciding 3-pointer in his face and Curry unable to shake Kevin Love as Cleveland took Game 7 to complete a masterful comeback and steal a championship on Golden State's home court.

Take III of the NBA Finals trilogy between Golden State and the Cleveland Cavaliers gives Stephen Curry and Draymond Green a chance to avenge last year's Warriors collapse and LeBron James the opportunity to add a fourth title in his chase of Michael Jordan's six. At the end of the day, I know the way I'm built.

That series turned when Green was suspended for Game 5 and James and Kyrie Irving took over from there.

What a dominant NBA Finals opener with the Warriors. Without taking anything away from Durant's brilliant display, the open court he was sometimes afforded and the ease with which he scored some of his points, particularly during those devastating drives to the rim that ended in dunks, will be of major concern to Tyronn Lue.

This is the first time in National Basketball Association history teams have met in three straight Finals.

James continued: "You take one of the best teams that we had ever assembled past year, that we saw in the regular season and in the postseason, and then in the offseason you add a high-powered offensive talent like that and a great basketball IQ like that, that's what stands out".

Game 1 is Thursday at Oracle Arena, where the Cavaliers won their first championship a year ago by becoming the first team to rally from a 3-1 deficit in the finals.

"That's a part of maturing and getting older in this league is you've got to realize every year you're a year older so you've got to tweak some things", teammate David West said. His coach that year was Mike Brown, who has served as acting coach for the Warriors while Steve Kerr is out following complications from back surgery. Meanwhile, in Cleveland, the Cavaliers actually saw playoff tickets drop from $314 during LeBron's comeback year in 2015 to $265 during the Cavs' run to the National Basketball Association title last year.

"I'm sure they feel like they could play better but we feel like we can shoot better", Brown said. As for the Cleveland bench, it combined for 20 points, most of which came during the meaningless closing minutes.

According to the odds makers in Las Vegas and the number crunchers at analytical sites, the Warriors are the clear favorites to win the series after sweeping their way through the playoffs with a record-setting margin of victory of 16.3 points per game. The Warriors' best lineup against the Cavaliers probably has both players on the floor at the same time, with Iguodala on James and Thompson defending Irving, so Thompson said he doesn't get caught up in whether his shot is falling. That $389 ticket price may be a good low point, but NBA Finals tickets at Oracle still average $2,098 apiece. "We have four wins left, we have to do whatever we can to get them". And he can still hit those shots.

The Warriors made the flawless start after becoming the first side in history to enter the finals with a 12-0 record. The Cavaliers have made three 3-pointers already, but are 1 for 7 inside the arc. He career playoff high was 25 in a game one of the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Boston Celtics in 2011. The Finals feature 11 current or former All-Stars, the most since the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers met in 1983.

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