James, Cavs KO Celts, set up rematch vs. Warriors

Warriors, Cavs 2017 Prediction: Who Will Win The NBA Championship? Breaking Down The Betting Odds

The trilogy is set to finally come to fruition in the National Basketball Association. Acting Golden State coach Mike Brown, asked about Cavs coach Tyronn Lue's comment that the Celtics are "harder" to defend that the Warriors, said, "That's his opinion".

"And once I got used to it, it's like, 'All right, let's roll with it".

Golden State led the league with 67 wins this season and is a staggering 27-1 in its last 28 games - including a flawless 12-0 in the Western Conference playoffs, the first time a team has gone this deep into an National Basketball Association postseason without losing.

"I feel good about our chances", he said. In Game 2, he scored 53 points - one shy of John Havlicek's franchise record. There was nearly too much historical context to dissect, and so James did what his instincts told him to do.

There's also the irony that Brown, the first coach who took James to an NBA Finals in 2007 - Cleveland was swept by San Antonio - will now coach against him, likely in the same leading role he's had for Golden State since head coach Steve Kerr was forced to take a break because of continued problems with his surgically repaired back. Celtics G Avery Bradley on the team's first home game since the Game 2 Cleveland blowout, said, "We owe our fans a better performance.". "You've got one guy with 12 years, first Finals appearance, and another guy 14".

Similarly, other top Celtics draft picks will experience the same thing and be better players for it.

James, who earlier on Thursday suggested comparisons were only for "barbershops", tried to sidestep the Jordan topic.

When pressed, however, he acknowledged Jordan's massive influence and the significance of the milestone.

"I think the biggest thing for me sitting here today after breaking the all-time scoring record in playoff history is that I did it just being me".

"When you're growing up and you're seeing Michael Jordan, it's nearly like a god".

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"Mike, I owe him $100 from when I was a rookie". "But when you lose 29 points a game, guys have to step up and make plays and make shots".

James, with three titles, is still chasing Jordan's six. But, as James made clear, numbers won't define how he compares himself to Jordan.

The 5-foot-8 point guard said he wants to play until he's 40, and he'd like to do it in Boston. "It is just my personal goal to keep me motivated and that's all".

The Warriors are using Durant in every imaginable way on offense, and James isn't surprised to see his good friend and Olympic teammate more mobile than he was with the Thunder. "He couldn't be the assist man like LeBron James can".

Irving erupted for 21 of his career playoff high 42 points in the third quarter, slicing into the lane time and time again and finishing in every way imaginable - left hand, right hand, off glass, with English, in the half court or on the break. This could be the Thrilla in Manila - the third bout Ali-Frazier fought on October 1, 1975 - times seven.

All of this is to say that even though James admitted shooting fadeaways as a kid like Mike, and wearing wristbands and leg sleeves and red shoes and short shorts - "so you could see my undershorts underneath" - like Mike, he still has his own legacy.

The Cavaliers and Warriors split their two meetings this season, both winning at home.

"If some kid or a group of kids from the West Coast or the East Coast or the Midwest or the South and everything in between, all around the world can look at me and say, 'Well, I made the extra pass because LeBron made the extra pass, ' or, 'I got a chase-down block and I didn't give up on the play because LeBron didn't give up, ' that would mean the world to me".

This team strikes the flawless balance between superstars and players who excel at the role they're asked to fulfill. There was too much jubilation and joy in the Cavs' locker room to wade into that territory.

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