Warriors owner Joe Lacob said publicly he wanted another chance at the Cavs because of unfinished business from 2016. Golden State will practice again Saturday then take Sunday as its last off day ahead of Thursday's Game 1 at Oracle Arena.
The Cavaliers and Warriors split their two meetings this season, both winning at home. Cleveland won by one on Christmas Day, Golden State prevailed by 35 on January 16.
The Celtics, in year four of their renewal, had reached the conference finals before using the upcoming No 1 pick, before spending their cap space this summer, and before cashing in another potential high pick that may yet arrive next year via their 2013 swindling of the Nets.
May 25, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) attempts a layup against the Boston Celtics during the third quarter of game five of the Eastern conference finals of the NBA Playoffs at the TD Garden.
And then handing the ball to Kyrie Irving, getting out of the way, and watching him take the team to the doorstep of the National Basketball Association Finals. "I know everything happens for a reason, so when my time comes, I know it will come and I'll be - God will bless me". "So you have to appreciate it".
"We definitely need more".
Already, the back-and-forth is underway. The story lines are plenty, including a few fresh ones, such as acting Golden State coach Mike Brown going against the team he coached not once but twice.
And there will be reminders of the Halloween party that James threw for the Cavaliers last fall, with "3-1 Lead" - a nod to what the Warriors lost in last year's Finals - prominently displayed on the drum set.More news: Memorial Day Ceremony held at Coastal Carolina Veteran's Cemetery
The Los Angeles Lakers had set the previous record of 12 straight wins in potential elimination games from 2000-2004. But there's also a clear respect level between the clubs as well.
LeBron James called the Warriors a "juggernaut", and Green said "there's always a mutual respect".
For the third straight year they are to face the Warriors for the crown. Their annoyance with one another is palpable, a dynamic only likely to be stoked by Warriors owner Joe Lacob calling for a rematch on account of "unfinished business", or by Cavs coach Tyronn Lue insisting that-against any conceivable logic-the Thomas-less Celtics are actually more hard to defend than the Warriors.
"We have to be ready for the challenge". Thursday was about James inching closer to Jordan, not the Finals matchup looming out West.
But the C's still can make the Cavs sweat a little more with a win in Thursday's Game 5, which would send the series back to Cleveland. We will certainly be remembering this series for a long time.
"I've missed a couple dunks in my career", James said. But James has deep respect for the Warriors.
"We've got a good amount of people that will be back, and obviously, a strong core with also some exciting opportunities in the draft", said Stevens.
For Thomas, that represents a win-lose.