As the Cavs picked up steam during the playoffs, the unofficial motto became Kiss Our Ring.
Going into Game 3 of the NBA Finals tonight between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, everyone is already jumping the gun with the conjecture and what-if questions. Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue has ruled out lineup changes so that's not going to be an issue, but thinks like LeBron James operating out of the low post might be a way for Cleveland to slow the Warriors. The Warriors actually had a higher victory margin through two games in the 2016 Finals, but they didn't have Kevin Durant or a fully healthy Stephen Curry then.
This was a scary one, although, stepping back and looking at the big picture, it was a setup. Even though the Cavs were the East's No.2 seed, they led the conference with a 31-10 home record, only going 20-21 on the road.
LeBron James was coming back on transition help defense when he inadvertently collided with Tristan Thompson. This time, they are looking to do something no National Basketball Association team has ever accomplished.
Kerr: I just think I said before the game, I think we're a better team partly because, obvious reasons, we have Kevin Durant on our team, but I think we're better from our experiences. "They went up big right away, and so we've got to be ready for that initial force". James, Love and Irving were on the other side of that equation against Toronto and, with one small blip with James reportedly fighting a bug, had the same dominance against Boston a round later.
One stat is telling: The Warriors had 29 assists, to 17 for the Cavs. It is going to be insurmountable in this series, too.
And when they finally got a close one, they showed why their roster is the envy of just about every other team, with the long-range shooting of Durant, Curry and Klay Thompson, and the defensive wizardry of Draymond Green and 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala. They were up 113-107 with about three minutes to go.
You can't out-pass the Warriors. Two of the greatest one-on-one players in the league went to work, James finishing with 39 and Irving with 38. The Warriors were 16-for-33 from beyond the arc Wednesday, the Cavs 12-for-44. But the Warriors would presumably like to avoid it anyway and wrap this series up. James asked at Wednesday's morning shootaround in advance of Game 3. At their morning shootaround, Patrick McCaw and Ian Clark had a spirited three-point contest - left-handed.
But the Warriors know stuff isn't easy in Cleveland.
Durant is chasing his first championship and seems determined to do whatever it takes.
The secret plan weaving its way through the bowels of the Quicken Loans Arena in whispers and determined stares was how badly they want Game 4 now. There's no drama, just the ball ripping through the net and wins - majority laughable. Force them into outside shots, if you can.
In the end, though, the Warriors' full house beat two of a kind. They're playing for history, although history is fighting back.
This matchup probably isn't hurting the league anymore than all of those Lakers-Celtics matchups hurt them them in the Finals. Then Julius "Dr. J" Erving said his 1982-83 Philly 76ers could crush these Warriors.
The Golden State Warriors have a chance to do something no team in National Basketball Association history has done. Now ABC has to hope the Cleveland Cavaliers can make it competitive.