Await­ing the in­evitable

Cavs keep­ing eye on War­riors on col­li­sion course to NBA Fi­nals

Cape Breton Post - - Sports - BY TOM WITHERS

As the sports world sali­vates while await­ing a seem­ingly in­evitable NBA Fi­nals, Cava­liers coach Try­onn Lue is keep­ing his un­de­feated team fo­cused on its next un­known op­po­nent.

And keep­ing an eye on the War­riors.

“I’m al­ways watch­ing,” Lue said. “I’m watch­ing ev­ery­body.”

But maybe that North­ern Cal­i­for­nia team a lit­tle more.

With both Cleve­land and Golden State at 8-0 in these play­offs and on a col­li­sion course to­ward a po­ten­tial third straight Fi­nals, there has been heated de­bate about whether Cava­liers-War­riors 3.0 is good for bas­ket­ball.

It’s the first time two teams have swept through the first two rounds, and with the way the Cava­liers and War­riors are play­ing, it doesn’t seem to mat­ter who they’ll face once the con­fer­ence fi­nals get go­ing.

Lue isn’t over­look­ing Bos­ton or Washington, one of which will play Cleve­land next, but he isn’t buy­ing into this no­tion that a third help­ing of Cava­liers vs. War­riors is some­how a hoops overindul­gence.

“I think a lot of peo­ple wanted to see Bos­ton and the Lak­ers back in the day,” he said. “I think nowa­days, a lot of peo­ple want to see Golden State-Cavs. And it’s not a prob­lem. Right now, it’s two of the teams play­ing some of the best bas­ket­ball. So, two of the teams that have been in back-to-back Fi­nals, so, why not?

“Why not want to see it again?”

Dray­mond Green has no ob­jec­tion.

“I know as a bas­ket­ball fan that’s what I’d want to see,” Golden State’s lo­qua­cious for­ward said. “You hear all the talk about it. You know it’s there, but we’ve got four more games to win be­fore we can reach an NBA Fi­nals . ... We’ve got to stay locked in and fo­cused on the now. If that hap­pens, it hap­pens. I know we’ve got to take care of our busi­ness and I’m sure they think the same way.”

Fol­low­ing two days off af­ter sweep­ing Toronto in the sec­ond round, the Cava­liers got back in the gym on Wed­nes­day to work on some de­fen­sive schemes and push through con­di­tion­ing drills while DJ Steph Floss, who spins records dur­ing games at Quicken Loans Arena, filled the fa­cil­ity with thump­ing mu­sic.

It’s the same rou­tine the Cavs have used while go­ing 16-0 in the first two rounds the past two years, so Lue isn’t chang­ing much.

“We’re just stick­ing to it and I think with the DJ, it just gives them a dif­fer­ent look and it gives guys mo­ti­va­tion to work out to the mu­sic and just some­thing dif­fer­ent,” he said. “I don’t know, it’s worked the last cou­ple years for us, so we’re just go­ing to con­tinue to do it.”

Win­ning has worked as well, and af­ter stag­ger­ing to the fin­ish line in the reg­u­lar sea­son, LeBron James and the Cava­liers have taken their game to another level.

The War­riors have been more im­pres­sive in rolling over Port­land and Utah. In its first post­sea­son with Kevin Du­rant on board, Golden State is win­ning by an av­er­age of 16.5 points per game — nearly 7 points higher than Cleve­land and on pace to be the high­est point dif­fer­en­tial in league his­tory. From the mo­ment last sum­mer when Du­rant left Ok­la­homa City and joined Green, Steph Curry, Klay Thomp­son and Co., it’s been as­sumed they would cross paths with the Cava­liers this June.

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