As it was in the previous two Finals, the series will start at Oracle Arena in Oakland.Tickets for the first "threematch" in National Basketball Association history are not going to be easy or cheap to come by. James again led the way in 2016, but he had their help, including Irving's dagger three to close out Game 7. "At the end of the day, you want to beat them - and that's simply what it is".
Asked if there was a "narrative" - his word - for the 2017 Finals, and he said "yeah, win championships".
In total, the Warriors are the favorites, with 61 experts picking them to win vs. the 24 who picked the Cavs.
And though they've seen it all before, Jackson said he was as excited as ever heading into Thursday's Game 1. Even though we have the best player in the world (LeBron James) on our team, you still can't take it for granted. Golden State defeated the short-handed Cavaliers in just five games in 2015. But enough about LeBron James, let's preview this great Finals matchup. 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. I'm not going to spend my time hating Cleveland.
He's been mentioned on a level with Michael Jordan - I've chimed in on that subject - and for the most part it's deserved. In fact, while LeBron was going through his odd mood in Cleveland against the Celtics, the guy who finished off Boston was Kyrie Irving. He is two three-pointers shy of passing Reggie Miller (320 3FGM) for 2nd place on the NBA's playoff three-pointers made list. He would go on to be Finals MVP turning in 35.8 points per game to go with 6.5 assists and 4.8 rebounds. These two met twice during the season, with the home team winning and covering the spread in both instances. He has hit just 38 percent of his shots as his normally reliable jumper has failed him. "So I feel great".
Curry has improved significantly since the first half of the season and will need to continue his rich vein of form in the playoffs into the Finals if the Warriors are to win this series.
In many respects, the Cavaliers have ridden the back of LeBron James en route to three straight finals appearances. He scored 42 in an important Game 4 victory over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals and can stand up to any of Golden State's perimeter players from a scoring and finishing standpoint.
This series also features 11 players who have been named All-Stars in their careers, including seven this year.
Anything less than a maiden National Basketball Association championship this year for Durant, a former MVP himself, would be a massive disappointment but the eight-times All-Star is not allowing himself to get caught up in the big picture.