LeBron undaunted by challenge of facing Warriors in Finals

The 2016 champions versus the 2015 champions. It's the matchup most expected, the matchup most predicted, and probably the matchup the Cavaliers and Warriors wanted as well.

With James guiding them the Cavaliers navigated through the playoffs, and landed in the finals against Golden State.

James knows he will have his hands full when the series opens on Thursday in Oakland but said he likes his team's chances of pulling off what Las Vegas would consider an upset. We're not using that as an excuse.

James won his second of three championships in 2013 when his Heat team knocked off the Spurs when Leonard - now an MVP candidate - was in his second season.

The loss snapped Cleveland's 10-game winning streak in this postseason and a 13-game run dating to Game 4 of last year's Finals. But they had just set the regular-season record for wins. They've been the better team this season. "Thirty teams suit up every year trying to get to this point, and only two teams do".

That's what has occurred here to the National Basketball Association and to us as fans, three rounds of competitive playoffs essentially sacrificed for the hope of one spectacular super series pitting super teams.

Already, the back-and-forth is underway. Golden State still finished at the top of the West. "I want the fundamentals of the game to be as great as they can be".

With six days to go until the NBA Finals officially tip off, the duo not only remained in Cleveland, but made a decision to take in a Future concert as they casually await Thursday's game. But there's also a clear respect level between the clubs as well. With Durant, they're the first team in National Basketball Association history to enter the Finals 12-0. "He's doing a lot more movement, which makes it even tougher to guard after being one of the tougher scorers I've ever seen". I think we will use it as fuel, we will use it as motivation, but the idea of playing into it? "We have to be ready for the challenge".

As he walked down a hallway inside Quicken Loans Arena to the postgame news conference, James, who scored just 11 points and only one in the final 18 minutes, was heckled by the fan for his sub-par outing.

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For Durant, this trip ends a five-year wait.

James even brought up the Boston Celtics teams he battled in the playoffs, both as a member of Cleveland and Miami, which featured Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and head coach Doc Rivers.

Yeah, I know, there's no way LeBron James and his Cleveland teammates are going to be dismissed that easily.

They'll collide again, starting next week. The Cavs have enough offensive power to win games in the series, but do they have enough defense to win the series? The only thing in the way for them is the Warriors.

"It's a little different, definitely".

"I can't lie. I went when I was 23 years old and it felt like the Western Conference Finals was nearly like the championship", he said. "I don't know more about LeBron than what Steve (Kerr) does", he said.

But seriously, if James wins a second straight title (and a fourth overall) does he surpass Jordan? Their first opponent of the postseason, the Trail Blazers were the first to find out.

They may be defending champions and they may have LeBron James, but against Golden State, they are definite underdogs.

The biggest task awaits.

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