The 2015 National Basketball Association champion Golden State Warriors and 2016 National Basketball Association champion Cleveland Cavaliers are set to meet in The Finals for the third straight year, with Game 1 of the potentially epic best-of-seven series set for tonight at 9 at Oakland's Oracle Arena.
Those questions have been asked and answered throughout the first three rounds of the 2017 NBA Playoffs, which the Warriors have swept through on the way to an NBA Finals matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the third consecutive season. They're the first team to begin a postseason 12-0, so it has made for plenty of rest and downtime - far different than a year ago when Golden State went seven games in the Western Conference finals to Durant's former Oklahoma City Thunder.
After several days off thanks to non-competitive series, the 2017 NBA Finals is finally here.
It also has nothing to do with the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry coming from Davidson and Charlotte or Carolina's James Michael McAdoo trying to win his second National Basketball Association title with the Dubs. Cleveland answered with an 8-2 run, with LeBron James scoring five of those to help get the Cavaliers back within 15.
Check out the most weird NBA Finals preview you'll ever see below. A video game simulation has them going the distance. Unbelievably, this already-loaded Warriors' roster from past year - led by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green - got better by adding superstar Kevin Durant. This is the third time in three years these two teams are meeting and you'd figure that the Cavs have their number by now.
"I think that the foundation that's he's laid on that team and influence he's had on that team, stays with them", says Cleveland's Shumpert.
The Warriors are a flawless 12-0 in the 2017 playoffs, going 8-4 against the spread in the process. Cleveland averages 111.2 points per game this season while allowing 105.6.
"Kinda no debate after this who the better team is", Curry said.
"I've always paid attention to him, even when he was in high school", James said.
"When it's all said and done, when all of our careers are over with, I'm sure there's gonna be a lot of looking back like we had some good times playing the game that we loved". The Cavaliers gave up 22 points in the paint, and let the Warriors turn eight offensive rebounds into 12 second-chance points. Cleveland nearly certainly needs the Kevin Love of the last round to have a chance at the upset. The Cavs haven't been far behind, losing only in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final to Boston.
"Hate in America, especially for African-Americans, is living every day", James said, "and even though it's concealed most of the time, even though people hide their faces and. when they see you will smile in your face, it's alive every day".
"Right now, he's not the best player on his team", Pippen added.
Last year, the Cavaliers battled back from a 3 - 1 series deficit to defeat the Warriors on their home court at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
The move would permit the Warriors to keep their entire core together with two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry potentially signing one of the first five-year contracts created by the new collective bargaining agreement. The Cavs, however, have the best player in the world in LeBron James, a trusty sidekick in Kyrie Irving, and a bevy of shooters and defenders to throw at Golden State.
"He's talked about possibly coaching Game 1. and I even tried to tell him, 'Steve, you should do it, and if you don't feel like you're OK, halfway through the game, just go back in the back, '" Brown said Wednesday. "So as long as I perform at this stage now and play my hardest, that's all I can ask for".
"We're doing fine without me", he continued.
Rewind to 2015, and injuries dramatically affected the NBA Finals.