When the NBA Finals tip off Thursday in Oakland, the drama will be dead.

Kevin Love has emerged as the player LeBron James yearned to see and the power forward could be a pivotal contributor for the Cleveland Cavaliers in their quest to repeat as National Basketball Association champions.

Green was suspended after being assessed a Flagrant-1 foul for what was called a "retaliatory swipe" to LeBron James after the two tangled on the court and James stepped over Green. The odds this year are the longest he has faced since 2007, when Cleveland was swept by San Antonio for the title.

Curry's forgettable NBA Finals previous year ended with Kyrie Irving hitting the deciding 3-pointer in his face and Curry unable to shake Kevin Love as Cleveland took Game 7 to complete a masterful comeback and steal a championship on Golden State's home court.

Not that anyone expected any different.

But we're backing the best player on the planet in LeBron James, whose team is a plus-220 series underdog to the Warriors (minus-260) in their Finals three-quel. Yes, I realize they've since added Kevin Durant, arguably a top-five player in the league, to the equation.

"I never really talk about my legacy", he said.

Yes, rivalry. One of the great things about SB Nation is that we have such passionate communities that give us the real pulse of every National Basketball Association fan base. With the teams having multiple superstars and MVP's, the key may be composure. Cleveland has Kyrie Irving, who scored 26 points in last year's final game.

"No, I think he just means. being assertive and just very confident on both sides of the ball in my movements". He's free to do whatever he wants, and God knows it's not an argument I'm going have on Day 1 of the Finals. "It is alive every single day".

Korver got added to the mix midway through the season when he was dealt from Atlanta to Cleveland and is one of a dozen players on the two rosters who weren't on these teams last June when the Cavs rallied from 3-1 down to win the title. Draymond Green and Stephen Curry both were visibly frustrated during the last few games of the series. He may not be out there long if the Warriors decide they need more mobility against Thompson, who is almost averaging a double-double and shooting 60 percent while creating plenty of extra possessions with his offensive rebounding for the Cavaliers.

"Goal is to win a championship".

The Lakers' Shaquille O'Neal holds up the MVP trophy, right, and the 2001 National Basketball Association championship trophy after the Lakers won their second straight title, defeating the 76ers in five games. In a case like this I assume that each team will play it's best for the entirety of the series and stay healthy. "He's competitive and he wants to win, so you can bet that he's not happy about a year ago and he's going to go after this one".

- This is the first time in league history that the same two teams have faced off in three consecutive NBA Finals.

"It feels a little surreal", Brown said.

For Game 1 on Thursday, the Warriors are listed as seven-point favorites over the Cavaliers with a 225.5 point total.

James and Irving should have no problem getting to the rim against Golden State, and Thompson should dominate the boards.

"We've had a great season to this point, a great playoff run".

Golden State missed their chance a year ago to finish off basketball's version of a ideal season, but they now have the rare opportunity to go down as the greatest team ever.

"The one guy for Golden State that's been effective on LeBron has been Andre Iguodala, and his knee's bad".

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