Published: Mon, May 29, 2017
Sports | By Phillip Butler

Warriors favoured over LeBron and Cavaliers in the Finals

That popular sports cliché is about as truthful as a dating profile, especially with oddsmakers setting a record-high betting total for Game 1 of the NBA Finals. "But we're going to enjoy this for a couple more days before we have to lock in on that juggernaut out west".

These Warriors aren't the happy-go-lucky bunch that took the basketball world by storm with their up-and-down pace and borderline cocky camaraderie two years ago, nor are they an overconfident squad that had to feel invincible heading last year's championship.

After the team returned from Boston in the wee hours Friday morning, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue didn't go to bed and immediately began working on a game plan to stifle Golden State's powerful, multi-faceted offense.

So why is LeBron James the underdog and why have the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers been picked by so many analysts and experts to lose this series to the Golden State Warriors?

During Thursday night's series closing win, LeBron passed Michael Jordan on the all-time playoff scoring list.

"Playing in this league, you can't take anything for granted", Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. "We got some throughout the year, and we really had guys progress well, but they've got to keep making that progress". So you have to appreciate it.

"We need the best possible player that's gonna help us win, and I'm with that", Thomas told the media, via ESPN.

With his tenth season coming to a close, the difference in adding a ring to his already impressive career could swing Durant one of two ways.

Given the Celtics' ownership of the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and their ample cap space, Thomas' hope of Boston taking a major step could become a reality.

Warriors host game one of the championship series in Oakland next Thursday.

Golden State led the league with a 67-15 record this season and is 27-1 in their last 28 games, including the playoffs. But there's also a clear respect level between the clubs as well.

Only six players have played in more NBA Finals than James. "So it makes it even more risky when you equip that talent, that skill with those guys".

James apparently isn't ready to crown the Warriors as his greatest challenge and pointed out two franchises that also had their fair share of talent.

For Durant, this trip ends a five-year wait. There hasn't been a Game 7 overtime since in the Final.

James, though, can't run or hide.

"I only play blackjack in Vegas anyway, so it doesn't matter", James said of the Las Vegas sportsbooks doubting the Cavs' chances.

They'll collide again, starting next week.

May 30, 2016 - Western Conference Finals - The Golden State Warriors defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder with a series win, 4-3.

This is the same King James who hopped off the team plane, decked out in a Kermit hat and "Ultimate Warrior" shirt while cuffing the Larry O'Brien trophy when the Cavs arrived back in Northeast Ohio after winning the title on the Warriors' floor previous year.

"It's a little different, definitely". We've just got to get back to, like I said, being physical, bringing the physicality and having a defensive mindset. "I went when I was 23 years old, and it felt like the Western Conference Finals was nearly like the championship".

The 5-foot-8 point guard said he wants to play until he's 40, and he'd like to do it in Boston.

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