Healthy Cavs, rested and ready for Splash Brothers
Star forward Kevin Love, star guard Kyrie Irving and mega star LeBron James have plenty to smile about as they attempt to bring Cleveland its first NBA championship which begins June 2 in Oakland against the Warriors.
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) -- LeBron James has already felt the stinging spray from the Splash Brothers in the NBA Finals.
When league MVP Stephen Curry and trigger-happy Golden State teammate Klay Thompson are knocking down 3-pointers from 30 feet, swishing contested jumpers over taller players and destroying defenses designed to stop them, the only option is pray they miss.
"Some of those shots," James said. "There's nothing you can do about it."
As the Cavaliers, considerably healthier than they were a year ago, prepare to take on the 73-win Warriors in the finals again, they know their chances of ending Cleveland's 52-year championship drought hinge on how well they defend Curry, Thompson & Co.
Stopping the Warriors is impossible. Slowing them isn't.
"They shoot the ball extremely well," James said before the team left for California and Game 1 on Thursday. "Klay and Steph are probably the two greatest shooters that we've probably ever seen. Better offense beats great defense any day. So we have to be able to do other things to stop them, but it's hard to contain them.
"We all know that. The whole league knows that. Our team knows that. But we have a game plan and we have to follow it and be true to it."
Although they won't admit it publicly, the Cavs have been eyeing a rematch with the Warriors since losing to them in six games last year.
James back then was virtually on his own after Kevin Love separated his left shoulder in the first round and Kyrie Irving shattered his left kneecap in Game 1 of the finals. James did everything possible, averaging 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists - an unprecedented finals stat line - but it wasn't enough. The Warriors had too much ball movement, athleticism and depth.
While fans, the league office and TV executives clamored for a Curry-James rematch, the Cavs claim they were ready for any opponent.
"It didn't matter," said James, appearing in his sixth straight finals. "Like Coach (Tyronn) Lue said, we're just waiting on the winner. We're fortunate to be here and we look forward to the challenge. It's an unbelievable team that we're going against. Hats off."
This time around, the Cavs have comparable talent.
That won't matter, though, if they don't defend.
Curry appears back to normal after dealing with a knee i