LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers believe that they are a better team this year when they face the Golden State Warriors at the start of the 2016 NBA Finals with Game 1 set at the Oracle Arena. James does not believe on the underdog tag on them rather he believes the Cavaliers stands a chance to take home the coveted title.
The last time James together with the Cavaliers faced the Golden Warriors last year, health was the main issue as Kevin Love and guard Kyrie Irving were battling injury issues leaving James to carry much of the load. But this time, it will be a different story as a healthy Cavaliers lineup is determined to give the Warriors a run for the title.
“I don’t get involved in all of that – the underdog, overdog, whatever the case may be. It’s stupidity. We’re better built to start the Finals than we were last year. [Being the underdogs] Not my concern,” James said.
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Had Stephen Curry continued to nurse his injury going into the series, James and the Cavaliers would have been the favorites. But instead, they will be big betting underdogs against a renewed and largely healthy Warriors line-up as well.
The key for the Cavaliers will be team play as the troika of James, Love and Irving will need the support from their bench as they must extend their defense so as not to allow Curry, Klay Thompson, and Andre Iguodala to get their three-point shooting going. Aside from that the Cavaliers’ defense also has other tall order as they must also try to clamp down Draymond Green and Festus Ezeli from dominating the paint as well.
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Other keys for the Cavaliers for the series will also involve their hunger and thirst for the championship crown. Many believe that with the thirst and hunger for the crown, will best motivate the James and the Cavaliers to win the series and the crown.
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue commended his team for undergoing the conditioning that they did prior to the series against the Toronto Raptors and he hopes that the conditioning will also benefit the team going into the series against the Warriors. He hopes that the players will believe in the system they are running as it will also benefit them as the Finals’ series progresses.
“The players did a great job of just staying with it, staying with the program. Nobody really wants to be conditioning this late in the season, but they’re professionals and they came out and did it, and it’s paying dividends. Playing full speed with more energy I think for longer periods of time,”Lue explained.
“We keep (James) on the floor a long time, and he’s able to play through it, play through the fatigue and able to push the ball and play at a high pace. He’s been able to do that in this series without getting tired as much as he did before, and we’ve just got to keep it going.”
Lue hopes that the players will keep continuing their pace since they had a longer time to prepare for the series and with the hostile crowd they are about to face, James and the rest of the Cavaliers are ready to play toe-to-toe with the Warriors, who are considered favorites to retain their title this season.
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Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison/Flickr