CLEVELAND (Reuters) - LeBron James is not one to shy away from a challenge and on Thursday said he and his Cleveland Cavaliers would not roll over to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals despite the long odds they face.
No NBA team have ever found their way back after losing the first three games of a best-of-seven series but James was not ready to admit defeat.
“My mindset is to try to get every game. Tomorrow’s another important opportunity for us and for myself, obviously, to continue the series,” said James, who had a game-high 39 points in the Game Three loss.
“It’s been a long season, and you hate for it to end this way. So mentally and physically, I got to prepare myself for that.”
Perhaps most frustrating for the Cavaliers, who host Game Four on Friday, is that after two lopsided losses to open the series they returned home and played their most complete game of the Finals only to blow six-point lead in the closing minutes.
The Cavaliers, however, are no stranger to defying odds. They became the first team to triumph after falling into a 3-1 Finals deficit when they beat the Warriors in seven games last year.
But the challenge is far more difficult this time, not only because of the bigger deficit but also given the sheer talent of a Warriors group looking to become the first NBA team to win a title without suffering a single postseason loss.
“I knew it was going to be one of the toughest challenges I’ve had because of the firepower they have, because of the mindset that they were going to have. And they’re a hungry group. You can sense that,” said James.
The Warriors beat Cleveland in the 2015 Finals, lost the rematch a year later after putting together a record-setting 73-win regular season, and then signed four-times scoring champion Kevin Durant to bolster a roster overflowing with talent.
According to James, the Warriors, who have not lost four consecutive games since 2013, have all the pieces needed to dominate the NBA for years to come.
“There have been times throughout my career where I played teams that were just in the midst of something that can last for a long time. And obviously this team is built to be able to do that with the talent that they have,” said James.
“So we’ll see what happens. Obviously you never know what’s going to happen, but as it stands right now, they look pretty good as far as the future.”
Editing by Larry Fine