One look at the endless depth of talent on the Cleveland Cavaliers' roster would make it seem blasphemous to even consider them underdogs. It's part of the journey.' Let's just go and play the game. "But we're going to enjoy this for a couple more days before we have to lock in on that juggernaut out west". He wanted to provided a title for his home team, the Cavaliers. If Golden State can wear down on Cleveland's starters, this substantial gap will play a big role in the series.
There are few weaknesses in these Warriors, the first team to head into the final round 12-0 and winning by an average of 16.3 points per game. His scoring was almost eight points below his season average, his field goal percentage was down 10 percent and his 3-point accuracy declined by 5 percent.
"You could tell that's a shot he's worked on", Curry said.
The Warriors have the highest-scoring offense in the playoffs with 118.3 points per game and the Cavs have the second-highest scoring offense with 116.8 points game. So you have to appreciate it. We will use it as motivation, but the idea of playing into it?
Already, the back-and-forth is underway.
Pretty much everyone in National Basketball Association circles is upset that Durant is on Golden State.
Mike Brown, who has been coaching the Warriors in Kerr's absence, did not address the media on Monday because he is out with the flu.
Appearing in his seventh straight Finals, James knows the Cleveland Cavaliers are underdogs as they prepare to the play the Western Conference champions for the third straight year.
Lue was asked if it's more hard to identify who that is on Golden State. But there's also a clear respect level between the clubs as well. And while forward-thinking teams have been praised for putting the player first, there is concern across the league that the approach threatens to alienate fans who pay to see their favorite players, aggravate network executives who paid billions to showcase games, and devalue the regular season.
The Warriors won an National Basketball Association record 73 regular-season games last season, then added one of the league's best players in Durant. "We've got to be ready for the challenge".
For James, the Finals are an annual rite.
Five years ago it was supposed to be the time the kids stepped up in Oklahoma City.
This time around, everyone other than Kerr is healthy. The timing couldn't be better for the All-Star power forward either, coming off his most productive series since joining the Cavs and looking as comfortable as he has since first donning the Wine and Gold in 2014. James won the MVP two times, and led the Cavaliers twice to the best record in the league.
"Hopefully", James said that night, "I don't continue to have to run into him". Durant signed a two-year, $54.3 million contract with the Warriors last offseason.
"It's a little different, definitely".
But even that has its limits - overreliance on the three-ball arguably helped contribute to Golden State's downfall in last year's Finals, particularly down the stretch of Games 5, 6, and 7. "But when you have great players like Curry and Durant on the same team, and then you have LeBron, there's not much you can do". "It's kind of in our minds that that's who we were going to see".
The storylines are many. Kerr recently reviewed all seven games from 2016, when Golden State squandered a 3-1 lead and missed a repeat championship. Durant certainly wasn't the first player to seek an instant championship through free agency. "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".