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It’s the matchup most expected, the matchup most predicted, and probably the matchup the Cavaliers and Warriors wanted as well.

In the previous two games, Cleveland’s bench scored nine and seven points total, but finished out the series with 49 bench points, the bulk of which did not have to come in garbage time.

“I think I fell in love with the game because of Mike, but when you’re growing up and seeing Michael Jordan it’s nearly like a god, so I never did believe I could be Mike”.

After these titans clashed in 2015 and Golden State won, Cleveland ended its curse, rallying to win their first title since, like, Grover Cleveland, and setting up a rubber match we’ve been waiting over 11 months for. They lost the first two games at home in the first round against Chicago, then came back to win four in a row. They may be defending champions and they may have LeBron James, but against Golden State, they are definite underdogs.

As much as this series was about James, Irving helped turn the tide of the series with a 42-point effort in Game 4.

“Playing in this league, you can’t take anything for granted”, Warriors guard Stephen Curry said after the Warriors beat the San Antonio Spurs 129-115 in Game 4 on Monday. So you have to appreciate it.

Durant’s need for a ring even surpasses LeBron James’, who is now looking to stack championships to build his argument as the greatest player ever.

Already, the back-and-forth is underway.

After the team returned from Boston in the wee hours Friday morning, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue didn’t go to bed and immediately began working on a game plan to stifle Golden State’s powerful, multi-faceted offense.

Game 6: Golden State at Cleveland* When: Thursday, June 15 – 9 p.m. Golden State will practice again Saturday then take Sunday as its last off day ahead of Thursday’s Game 1 at Oracle Arena. But there’s also a clear respect level between the clubs as well.

The challenge this Cavs team will face over the coming weeks will be daunting, but they appear able and ready to take it head on and leave it all on the floor to try and win another one for The Land.

An unprecedented Finals trilogy was finally set, and still, James had no interest or energy to engage the topic.

Durant wasn’t around when the Cavaliers-Warriors rivalry started, but for the sake of his legacy, he better do all that he can to end it. Ten blowouts in 12 games were the results Durant was looking for in a playoff experience when he moved from Oklahoma City to Oakland.

“We’re definitely disappointed. I felt like if we weren’t, it would be a problem”, Bradley said.

They’ll collide again, starting next week.

While James is going for his fourth ring, Warriors forward Kevin Durant will be trying to win his first. Durant signed a 2-year, $54.3 million contract with the Warriors last offseason. “I went when I was 23 years old, and it felt like the Western Conference Finals was nearly like the championship”. “I started to focus on myself, on other players and other people around my neighborhood because I never thought that you could get to a point where Mike was”. So it’s a little different now, obviously. We’ll go from there.

The storylines are many.

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