This NBA Finals rubber match between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers has been building up for a while. Other teams don't have much of a chance if the Warriors are healthy and focused, not in a seven game series.
But it all evaporated.
For the third straight year, it's Cleveland and Golden State in the NBA Finals. "Obviously, it's special to me because it is the Finals". "It's too stressful, and I'm not stressed right now". But then he added this: "OK, maybe a slight preference for Cleveland".
The Cavs' Kyle Korver, picked up in trade from the Atlanta Hawks, is shooting 42 percent from 3-point range in the playoffs.
And they're doing this without their head coach.
Kerr is still involved, albeit donning sweatpants. On the strength of a 15-0 run, Isaiah Thomas' 25 points and Kelly Olynyk's 17 off the bench, the Celtics cruised to a 99-86 victory in Golden State on March 8.
The Warriors are using Durant the way he envisioned, but Lue has noticed changes in the All-Star.
"I don't feel like we're underdogs", Kevin Love said on Saturday, following Cleveland's first practice in preparation for the Finals.
"We were both running and grinding together". We didn't talk about championships or anything.
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"With this team, the center position is one that we're looking for", he said. Simple as that. It's good that we're here now.
"It made me look back to see how fast everything can be taken away from me", Thomas said.
Speaking with the media Friday, Celtics guard Avery Bradley revealed that Stevens made strides in not being so nice to his players. But superficialities aside, James has never been a Jordan clone, never had Jordan's assassin-like single-mindedness as a scoring machine.
Of the 30 National Basketball Association teams that compete during the regular season, 16 teams, eight in the Eastern Conference and eight in the Western Conference, participate in the post-season playoffs leading up to the Finals.
Can the Cavs do it again?
James will appear in his seventh consecutive Finals as he seeks his fourth title.
"King" James surpassed National Basketball Association icon Michael Jordan as the league's all-time leading playoff scorer.
Aside from a Game 3 upset after losing Thomas to a hip injury, the Celtics lost by margins of 13, 44, 13, and 33 points. When you're watching Michael Jordan, it's almost like a god. Green hit LeBron in the groin, was suspended for Game 5 and Klay Thompson said postgame that, "I guess [LeBron's] feelings got hurt". "Anything Danny and this organization need me to do to help bring even more talent to this city, I'm all for that".
As seen in the Houston series, it's not like Aldridge can't play the game. "I was like, 'If I'm not scoring the ball, how can I still make an impact on the game?' It's carried me all the way to this point now, and it's going to carry me for the rest of my career because scoring is not No. 1 on my agenda". It was charming to hear James recall the lengths to which his younger self once went to mimic Jordan, from wearing short-shorts that showed his spandex undershorts, to sporting one wristband on the forearm, to folding his knee sleeve just so.
About an hour after the final buzzer sounded, James took a seat at the interview podium, a black cap pulled low on his brow.
In that series alone against the Warriors, Aldridge had the worst net rating on the team as a -31 per 100 possessions.