Underdog Cavs insist they have plenty of bite for Finals

If the Warriors go small and are not punished on the boards for it, then Cleveland is more or less screwed.

In the post-game presser last night, LeBron was adamant about not wanting to discuss the Golden State Warriors.

But it all evaporated.

LeBron James is the best player in the world, right now.

The 2016 champion Cavs will battle the 2015 champion Warriors for the third straight year. But then he added this: "OK, maybe a slight preference for Cleveland".

"We're definitely disappointed. I feel like if we weren't, there would be a problem", he said. This was highlighted by his 42-point performance in Game 4, a contest where LeBron had four fouls in the first half for the first time in his career. He doesn't have six championships quite yet, but second consecutive finals appearances, with four championships and two over the best team's assembled in National Basketball Association history in back-to-back seasons is historic. Warriors assistant coach Mike Brown has filled in as interim head coach.

Major League Baseball works a bit differently, fining teams who spend a certain amount of money on player salaries. While Cleveland has played teams that ranked eighth, 12th and 16th defensively in the regular season, Golden State has played two of the league's top three defenses (Utah and San Antonio), though the Spurs were missing Kawhi Leonard for 3 1/2 of the four games in the conference finals.

In terms of win shares, the Warriors' roster has produced.194 win shares per 48 minutes in the 2017 National Basketball Association playoffs, the most this postseason. I'd love to be here long-term and win championships here.

"Throughout the series, I didn't get the opportunity to have that moment", James said. "We just kept grinding". "Collectively, we can take away what an elite (team) looks like".

The 5-foot-8 point guard said he wants to play until he's 40, and he'd like to do it in Boston. Simple as that. It's good that we're here now. We go out and just try to be as great as we can be every night.

Can LeBron and the Cavs do it again?

The Celtics concluded their season with a loss to the Cavaliers in the eastern conference finals.

But for the third year in a row, the Cavs enter the NBA Finals as the underdog.

Game 1: Cleveland at Golden State When: Thursday, June 1 - 9 p.m. That said, who really would bet against a Finals that came within a stray Boston victory of synching up two 12-0 teams (through the preliminary rounds).

This will be Kevin Durant's second appearance in the NBA Finals, and it's insane to think how much has happened since his first.

James scored 35 points, passing Michael Jordan on the NBA's all-time playoff scoring list along the way, and Kyrie Irving had 24 for Cleveland.

"Eastern Conference finals, that's the biggest stage I've ever been on, " Thomas said at the team's practice facility in Waltham, Massachusetts.

"I think it's a great thing for the league, contrary to popular belief where everyone says it's boring", Green said Friday. "I think I fell in love with the game because of Mike. If I'm not scoring the ball, how can I still make an impact on the game?" James and the Heat took that Finals in five games. It's carried me all the way to this point now and it's going to carry me for the rest of my career.

It's a big win for James, who wears the number 23 for Jordan. It was charming to hear James recall the lengths to which his younger self once went to mimic Jordan, from wearing short-shorts that showed his spandex undershorts, to sporting one wristband on the forearm, to folding his knee sleeve just so.

A Warriors' team bent on revenge stands in his way.