Cavs, LeBron find same title hope obstacle in Golden State

Tue May 31, 2016 3:00pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - LeBron James and the Cavaliers rested up and waited through a tumultuous Western Conference finals before finding themselves right back where they were last year, going against the Warriors for the NBA title.

James, on a stated mission to bring to Cleveland the city's first major professional sports team title in 52 years, and the Cavs hit the road to open the best-of-seven against sharpshooter Stephen Curry and Golden State at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, on Thursday.

Cleveland fell in six games in last year's NBA Finals, but that was an undermanned Cavaliers crew.

They were without injured power forward Kevin Love and lost point guard Kyrie Irving after one game of the Finals.

This year they are at full strength and looking a different team under new coach Tyronn Lue, who has them running and gunning three-pointers as an Eastern Conference version of the Warriors.

James is now surrounded by potent shooters including Irving, Love, J.R. Smith and Channing Frye, who helped Cleveland set three-point records during their 12-2 charge through the playoffs that began with a pair of four-game sweeps.

Despite all this, the Warriors are heavy favorite, according to the early betting markets.

A high octane Finals could be in the offing as they match their shooting prowess against Curry and All-Star backcourt mate Klay Thompson, Golden State's "Splash Brothers".   Continued...

May 23, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN;   Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) reacts after dunking for a basket against Toronto Raptors in the second quarter of game four of the Eastern conference finals of the NBA Playoffs at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports