CLEVELAND -- History beckons the Warriors, and they can meet it as early as Friday night if they're able to defeat the Cavaliers in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.
Prior to the Warriors and Cavs meeting in The Finals for the fourth straight season, only three teams since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976 had made four trips in a row: the Lakers (1982-85), the Celtics (1984-87) and the Heat (2011-14). None, however, won three championships, a feat the Warriors can claim by winning this series.
Warriors by 4.5
Warriors: F/G Andre Iguodala (R lower limb contusion) is listed as probable.
Cavaliers: No injuries listed.
Scott Foster (crew chief), James Capers, Jason Phillips, Eric Lewis (alternate)
A reminder to conspiracy-theorist Warriors fans: The Warriors won Game 1 in Houston and Game 7 in Houston -- Scott Foster officiated both of those games... https://t.co/m9DSgeYg8B— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) June 8, 2018
Game 1: Warriors 124, Cavaliers 114 (OT) in Oakland Game 2: Warriors 122, Cavaliers 103 in Oakland Game 3: Warriors 110, Cavaliers 102 in Cleveland
ROAD TO THE FINALS
Warriors: Defeated San Antonio in five games in the first round, defeated New Orleans in five games in the conference semifinals, defeated Houston in seven games in the Western Conference Finals.
Cavaliers: Defeated Indiana in seven games in the first round, defeated Toronto in four games in the conference semifinals, defeated Boston in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Warriors won both meetings in the regular season, 99-92 on Dec. 25 at Oracle Arena and 118-108 on Jan. 15 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The Warriors have won 10 of the last 11 overall.
The Warriors won the 2015 Finals in six games, the Cavs took the 2016 Finals in seven and the Warriors triumphed in five games in the 2017 Finals.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
INTENSITY LEVELS: This is the Cavs' last stand, and when in that situation last season they had a prideful response, posting a 137-116 victory. Kyrie Irving scored 40 points in that game, and he's no longer on the roster. How frisky will the Cavs be? And if they come to play, can the Warriors, with a 3-0 cushion, match the urgency?
CROWD IMPACT: The Cavs gave themselves chances to win in Game 1 and Game 3 and failed both times. Will their fans be able to summon enough spirit and support to propel their favorite team? Or will their support be hollow, a result of concluding that the task of beating these Warriors is much too tall?
STEPH AND KD: Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are top contenders to be named Finals MVP (Bill Russell Award). Curry had the lead after Game 2, but Durant likely edged ahead in Game 3. Should the Warriors sweep, maybe it can be a shared award. Then again, that has never happened in the previous 49 years.