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Cleveland and Golden State were stressed and stretched to their limits in the conference finals this time around www.ravensauthorizedshops.com/authentic-...ndo-brown-jr.-jersey , leaving little time to recoup and prepare for their latest showdown in the NBA Finals.

”Splintered” is how Stephen Curry described what he feared could happen in the second quarter of Game 7 at Houston, with the Warriors pushed to the brink by the Rockets.

So, Golden State held a serious team chat and got it together at last. LeBron James willed his Cavaliers back to the big stage with another spectacular performance against Boston.

”It was a special moment for us. And I think one that we’ll look back, if we get the job done over these next two weeks, where, again, as an appreciation of all that goes into winning a championship,” Curry said Wednesday, ”and doing it by committee and making sure every guy, whether you’re playing well or not, or things are going your way or not, that we all bring something to the fold that have gotten us to four straight Finals.

”And we’ve done it by appreciating everybody that’s a part of that group. I think that two and a half minutes was a special moment for us, and it should give us great momentum going into the series.”

Now http://www.chiefsauthorizedshops.com/aut...eeland-speaks-jersey , James and the Cavs and Curry and the defending champions find themselves in familiar territory, facing off in a fourth straight NBA Finals – just with far less prep time after each team played furious Game 7s on the road to get back here.

Cavs-W’s, Act IV is a little bit different, indeed. Game 1 is Thursday night at Oracle Arena.

King James stands in the way of a Warriors repeat, just as he did in spoiling that quest for Golden State and leading the Cavs to a championship two years ago with a Game 7 win on the Warriors’ home court, where they have currently won 17 of the last 18 postseason games.

James never counted out Golden State.

”Just going against the Warriors in the last three years in the Finals, I kind of figured or thought that they could get it done,” he said. ”Just because of the 18 of a possible 21 Finals games that I’ve played against them in the last three years, I figured out that they could make it happen.”

Here are some things to watch for heading into the best-of-seven series:

JAMES’ SHOT: James isn’t ready to make any bold predictions about how great he might be in his eighth straight Finals.

Yet the way he prepares, there’s no doubt in his mind he will be ready when the ball tips.

”The level that I can play at is to be seen, but the level that I put into the game and put into my craft is who I am,” James said. ”So numbers and things like that kind of take care of itself. But for me, I understand and I know how much I put into the game. So everything else is OK.”

NO REST FOR THE WEARY: With only two days between games after the Warriors eliminated the Rockets 101-92 on Monday night Luis Tiant Jersey , Draymond Green is happy to have an opponent in Cleveland he knows so well.

”In recent years we’ve been kind of having a week off, at most, to prepare for the Finals. It’s almost a day to prepare this time,” he said. ”So it definitely helps knowing the opponent, knowing, obviously, everything stops and starts with LeBron, and trying to do what we can to make things tough on him, but also take other guys out of the game.”

The Cavs finished their series Sunday at Boston, so James spent a relaxing Memorial Day Monday with family having a barbecue.

INJURY WOES: Both teams face significant injury concerns: Golden State defensive stopper and 2015 Finals MVP Andre Iguodala was ruled out for Game 1 with a bone bruise in his left knee, while Cleveland’s Kevin Love remains in the NBA’s concussion protocol with his status uncertain.

GOLDEN STATE AMONG GREATEST: James considers Golden State among the greatest teams ever, and insists each side has earned this. James is ignoring the critics who say this annual matchup might be bad for basketball.

”Teams have had their opportunities to beat the Cavs over the last four years and teams have had opportunities to beat the Warriors over the last four years,” James said. ”If you want to see somebody else in the postseason then you’ve got to beat `em.”





Paul George can count.

That’s what we forgot.

Everyone knows that the lure of home is strong for George Michael Gallup Color Rush Jersey , a Los Angeles kid who took countless jumpers as a youngster while pretending to be Kobe Bryant and wearing purple and gold. And players tend to go home: Paul Pierce played in LA toward the end of his career, Dwyane Wade briefly played in Chicago, Chauncey Billups had stints in Denver.

So while diving into the magnitude of the numbers in George’s soon-to-be-official deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder – four years at an average of $34 million a season, a contract that sure seems like it will help push the OKC payroll and luxury tax bills for next season alone to perhaps well over $200 million – there was one number that seems to have mattered most.

It is 28.

His age.

He’s still a young man, even by NBA standards. Consider this: George might not even be at his NBA peak yet. Barring an extension, which is possible, he could exercise his option to become a free agent again in the summer of 2021 – and even then he’ll just be 31. Los Angeles will still be there, calling, winking, tugging at his heartstrings the way it clearly has for years.

That’s a sure thing.

Another sure thing: That the Thunder, while not a Super Team per se, have super pieces.

George shared the stage at a party in Oklahoma City on Saturday night with Russell Westbrook, which was fitting since they shared the basketball stage flawlessly in their first season together. All those questions – mostly variations of ”how will this work?” – got answered when the Thunder went 40-22 in the final 62 games of the regular season Authentic JK Scott Jersey , George got his numbers (nearly 22 points per game) and Westbrook got his again as well (averaging a triple-double).

They speak with great respect for one another. They are not the same guy: Westbrook loves fashion and flash, George would rather go fishing. But it worked, on the court and off, and that bond is necessary if the Thunder are going to challenge Golden State and Houston for Western Conference supremacy anytime soon.

It’s not just those two. The Thunder have a good big man in Steven Adams. They’re getting Andre Roberson back, probably in time to start next season after this past season ended prematurely because of a ruptured patellar tendon. They’re keeping Jerami Grant for $27 million over three years, which in this NBA seems like a bargain. They have a good coach in Billy Donovan and by all accounts, it’s a happy locker room.

George kept dropping hints all spring. When asked about his future, he raved about how much he liked being in Oklahoma City. The more he said it, the more it seemed like he wasn’t just spewing the company line. It seemed real, and now, the realness has been proven.

The Thunder have some issues, mainly what to do with Carmelo Anthony.

Anthony doesn’t want to come off the bench, he’s going to cost the Thunder something like $70 million – the luxury tax is going to be incredibly punitive – if they keep him Youth Nyheim Hines Jersey , and his best days are behind him. Having a high-priced deal isn’t Anthony’s fault; blame it on the New York Knicks and Phil Jackson, the ones who orchestrated that contract. But it’s now something that the Thunder will have to manage.

That’s as close as it gets to bad news in OKC right now.

George could have left, gone to the Lakers to join LeBron James, and no one would have complained. It would have been the easiest thing. Staying in OKC was the power move, though, both for George and Thunder general manager Sam Presti. George took the stage at that party, grabbed a microphone and delivered four words that shocked many.

”I’m here to stay,” he said.

Stay is a relative word in the NBA. Nothing is forever, except the lure of home.

LA will still be there in three or four years, if he wants to still play there. George was smart enough to see that. And the Thunder were smart enough to not let him get away.



Tim Reynolds is a national basketball writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at treynolds(at)ap.org



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