OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – The Cavaliers-Warriors showdown everybody has been predicting for the past 11 months starts tonight when Golden State hosts defending champion Cleveland in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. It’s the first time in league history the same teams have faced off in the finals three years in a row.
Part 3 of the trilogy gives Cleveland’s LeBron James the opportunity to add a fourth title in his chase of Michael Jordan’s six. Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Draymond Green get a chance to avenge the Warriors’ collapse last year, when they blew a 3-1 series lead following a record-breaking 73-win season. And Kevin Durant gets a chance at a first championship after leaving the Thunder for Golden State.
This series features 11 players who have been named All-Stars in their careers, including seven this year. The only other time a Finals matchup featured 11 former All-Stars came in 1983 when Philadelphia swept the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Warriors have swept all three rounds of the playoffs so far, becoming the first team to win their first 12 games of the postseason. The Cavs have only lost one game this postseason, a Game 3 loss to Boston in the Eastern Conference finals.