LeBron James' Cavaliers embracing underdog status in NBA Finals rematch with Warriors

Steve Kerr says it is unlikely that he will coach the Golden State Warriors on Thursday as he battles migraines and chronic pain that refuse to subside since back surgery he underwent two years ago. LeBron James is better than all of them. You better believe they are starving to get this show on the road.

This is a sentiment that largely resembles the one coming into the 2016 Finals. About a year later, it seems we've learned nothing. "So first of all my concern is for my fans that we play as many players as we can, that we play to win".

It wasn't all LeBron last June. If he can control the paint and create second chances for the Cavs offense while limiting Golden State on its possessions, the Cavaliers will have a chance to hang close in most games. Backbreaking turnovers, game-costing nut punches and failing to fall back on what worked until Game 5 helped Cleveland make history.

During the regular season, there were 203 instances of a healthy player sitting out of a game, according to data compiled by instreetclothes.com, a website run by certified athletic trainer Jeff Stotts that has analyzed injuries for years.

In this Sunday, May 14, 2017, photo, Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant warms up before Game 1 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals between the Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs in Oakland, Calif.

And even though Cleveland has rolled through the playoffs, going 12-1, they've allowed opponents over 100 points in all but three of those games. Just let him know your going to come down next time and play the same type of defense. "People do get exhausted on back to backs". When that happens, the Warriors are not the Warriors. There's the Warriors' Draymond Green and the "what's he going to do or say next" pool. Then there's Durant, who is still a stone-cold threat, but has garnered a bit of a reputation for late-game failings. Golden State cruised to its third straight appearance in the final. But Golden State must only have slight advantages in those categories, right? So far this post-season LeBron James has already tied records for most consecutive 30-point playoff games (set by Michael Jordan) and most consecutive 25-point games while shooting 50 per cent from the field (set by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar).

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As important as Kerr might be on the bench, the Warriors haven't missed a beat without him.

Chances are, they won't find it.

Growing up a Magic fan in Orlando, the Warriors barely registered a blip on my hoops radar, in part because they were one of the worst teams in the National Basketball Association for the entirety of my formative years, but also because I lived 3,000 miles away, and most Dubs games didn't even start until past my bedtime. And while forward-thinking teams have been praised for putting the player first, there is concern across the league that the approach threatens to alienate fans who pay to see their favorite players, aggravate network executives who paid billions to showcase games, and devalue the regular season. Making LeBron a jump shooter hasn't worked in six years, and he's knocking it down from range this year. They don't compare. And even if the Cavs manage to smash apart the Warriors offensive strategy, it becomes a matchup of LeBron and Kyrie vs. KD and Steph. Are people ready to live with betting against James again, especially after the tear he's been on?

The position matchups in this series are a basketball fan's dream, as well.

Kevin Love comes through with a big game against the Boston Celtics.

Want Warriors news in your inbox? To his credit, that hasn't been a negative on his defense (which has been underrated in the playoffs), but eventually he'll need to start knocking down the looks he's getting.

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