Warriors coach says he's not ready for Game 1

Xavier Trudeau
Mai 31, 2017

Cleveland defeats Golden State 109-108.

"The whole underdog thing is amusing to me, because, yeah, at the end of the day we are defending our title", Cavaliers forward Kevin Love told reporters Saturday after Cleveland's practice. We're trying to repeat, which is so hard to do. "We don't go into any series saying we're only going to play four games, we can't approach a series like that, like, 'Yeah, we're going to play four.' You approach it with a mindset of, 'Of course we'd love to sweep them but you have to take that game by game". But I spent some time walking around in the woods this weekend, and as the smell of damp soil filled my head, I couldn't help but start to feel more optimistic.

The Warriors have dealt with adversity - particularly Durant's knee injury and coach Steve Kerr's absence caused by his ongoing back problems.

But he and his Cleveland Cavaliers find themselves the underdogs as they clash for an unprecedented third straight season with Golden State.

Cavaliers are on the wrong end of "The Shot", the name of a famed series-winning basket hit by Michael Jordan in the 1989 Eastern Conference quarter-finals that is one of the most replayed National Basketball Association plays in history.

For the Cavs, the biggest draw is LeBron James with an equally impressive support cast of Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love.

"There are more moments to come where we'll be tested, especially on the West Coast playing against a great team like the Warriors", Cavaliers All-Star guard Kyrie Irving said. The only person who could relate is James, whose struggles in his first Finals with Miami snowballed so furiously that Dallas took the title.

Whether he coaches or not, Kerr said he plans on flying to Cleveland with Golden State for Games 3 and 4. LeBron James has averaged more points on the road (28.4) than at home (26.3), though that might have something to do with his averaging a minute-and-a-half more per game on the road. This will be the third year in a row the Cavs and Warriors face each other in the Finals.

Both clubs are far and away the two best teams and each has improved significantly over the past season.

Jordan, of course, was 6-0 in the NBA Finals and it's not much of a reach to think he would have been 8-0 had he not abruptly quit to play baseball following the 1993 season. "I address the team quite a bit", Kerr told reporters Monday. "This year we will win it on our own turf and Cleveland will be lit up like Las Vegas", said Wheeler.

Odds makers have tipped the Golden State Warriors as the overwhelming favourites in the upcoming 2017 NBA Finals. That's enough motivation alone. We're not using that as an excuse. "When you're doing that, things you go over every day, end-of-game plays and things like that, either they work or they don't".

And then, nearly as if he was trying to remind himself that he's got three championship rings and is frightful in his own right, James recalled other fearsome post-season opponents - San Antonio and Boston.

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