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Rubber Match: 2017 Finals vs. 2015 and 2016 Finals

02 June 2017

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - LeBron James bit on a pump fake and got no help as Kevin Durant drove to the basket for one of his several uncontested dunks. Cavaliers vs. Warriors. Warriors vs. Cavaliers.

The NBA Finals start Thursday night and the oddsmakers have numerous lines on the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors.

The pop singer is a huge LeBron James fan and everyone noticed when she took a huge bow before him courtside.

In 2015, James carried the Cavaliers on his back when Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love went down with injuries. He's seeking his first title and is second for the Warriors in scoring with 25.2 points per game this postseason. Same as it was in 2016, when the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied to win it in seven.

Cavaliers-Warriors Part III of their NBA Finals trilogy has begun and Golden State guard Stephen Curry is wearing a sleeve on his right arm in Game 1.

Not that anyone expected any different.

With Game 1 of the Finals on Thursday night at Oracle Arena in Oakland, observers are only left to wonder: Could the Warriors, facing LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for the third straight year, become the first team to go undefeated to win a title? 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.

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"We have a veteran team, I don't think it will jolt our guys at all, I know it wouldn't jolt me", Brown said. Part of their poor final numbers come from their final two months when their overall effort level was wanting, but they still aren't a good defensive team.

This matchup has seemed ordained since James walked off the court in Oakland last June, having delivered his native northeast OH its first major team championship since 1964.

"This year has taught me a lot", Durant recently told NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole.

I'm not going to heap any more accolades on the guy, but suffice it to say that slowing down James is priority number one. "I got a promotion when I got to the 30s". But she added, "I really believe they're gonna work it out". And teams that win Game 1 of the NBA Finals have gone on to win the series 70 percent of the time. The Cavs have dropped the first game in all three Finals against the Warriors. They may not have added a player anywhere near the caliber of Durant, but their incumbent super star more than makes up for it.

"At the end of the day, all the people that were rooting for me to fail.at the end of the day, tomorrow they have to wake up and have the same life that [they had] before they woke up today".

And it wasn't just about the shots the Cavs didn't get.

But after winning the first two games a year ago before blowing the 3-1 lead, the Warriors aren't about to get ahead of themselves even if Cavs coach Tyronn Lue called them "the best I ever seen".

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Police are investigating after someone spray painted a racial slur on the front gate of LeBron James' home in Los Angeles on the eve of the NBA Finals. Durant finished with 38 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists.

"I know I've grown as a player just through experience from the last five years, but if I don't go out there and execute, none of that matters", Durant said.

Draymond Green picked up two fouls in the first 4-1/2 minutes. But I was more so just catering to my teammates, trying to make them feel comfortable.

"It's been a long journey, some ups and downs but it's well worth it once you get here in the Finals", Williams said. The Cavaliers face the Golden State Wa. "He's put us in a great position". "And hopefully we keep it going, but we fully respect and are aware that this team that we're playing, they're the champions and we're not", Kerr said.

The Warriors shot 42.5 percent and committed only four turnovers.

"I feel very good about our chances".

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Rubber Match: 2017 Finals vs. 2015 and 2016 Finals