Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics Game 5: What We Learned

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It's just that the data doesn't like his chances - BPI gives the Warriors a 28 percent chance to finish the ideal playoff run with a four-game sweep, and the Cavaliers have only a 6 percent chance of repeating as National Basketball Association champions. The first "threematch" - rematch of a rematch - in league history. But whatever happens, Cavs-Warriors III will be the most-hyped showdown since Magic Johnson's Lakers vs. Larry Bird's Celtics in the 1980s.

The three-time champion said playing Golden State is "going to be very challenging not only on me mentally, but on our ballclub and on our franchise". "We want to go take back a championship, that's just the nature of a competitor and I think that's the mindset of everyone in this organization to go take back what they took from us". Like, we're the number one seed in the East, and everybody in the world thinks we're half as talented as anybody in the National Basketball Association.

The Cleveland Cavaliers were less than two hours removed from clinching their third straight Eastern Conference crown and James' seventh consecutive trip to the NBA Finals.

This may not sit well with many Warrior fans and their concept of manifest destiny, but the NBA Finals has to go seven games.

And unlike the Warriors squad that blew a 3-1 Finals lead past year after a record-setting 73-9 regular season, this version of the team is even more unsafe after adding former league MVP and four-time scoring champion Kevin Durant.

The reigning NBA Coach of the Year is still not feeling well after a May 5 procedure at Duke University to fix a spinal fluid leak stemming from back surgery complications almost two years ago. So you have to appreciate it. ... They have played in all of the team's last three finals appearances and have showed they are not afraid of the moment.

Already, the back-and-forth is underway. "Now we can start focusing on Golden State to get ready". Countered Golden State acting coach Mike Brown, when asked about it Thursday: "That's his opinion".


Jeff Zillgitt: Underdogs in the Finals once again, the Cavaliers face an even more hard challenge against the Warriors.

As for this series, James feels both teams have improved from last season.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said though he's disappointed with how the season ended, he's encouraged that no one in Boston's locker room is satisfied just making it to the conference finals. We've made a lot of mistakes that you can't make at this stage.

An unprecedented Finals trilogy was finally set, and still, James had no interest or energy to engage the topic.

This time around, everyone other than Kerr is healthy. The Thunder lost to Miami in five games, a series that made James a champion for the first time. The greatness of LeBron James, the continued ascension of Kyrie Irving and the better-than-ever comfort level of Kevin Love will be enough to help the Cavs put up a good fight, but this Warriors group is just too good to be beat. "That's all I can give you right now". Now they meet for the rubber match starting June 1 in Oakland.

Durant's decision to leave the Thunder for Golden State as a free agent last summer meant the Warriors went from mere overwhelming favorites to win the West again to super-duper-overwhelming favorites to win the West again.

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