Before we tackle the main changes, we would be remiss if we did not mention the absence of Steve Kerr on the court for Golden State. The Warriors have assisted on 70 percent of their shots this season, which is the highest rate in 13 years. It's really that simple. The LeBron James Family Foundation, which is run by Michele Campbell, handles numerous prolific forward's charitable endeavors. In the Eastern Conference Finals, Cleveland defeated the talented and experienced Detroit Pistons 4-2, in a series that included James's first signature moment of genius, a 48-point performance in Game 5.
The key to the series may very well be shaped around the question of whether or not Durant can keep these numbers up and maintain his status as an unstoppable offensive force, similar to his dominance during the regular season.
In the 2007 Finals, however, the Cavaliers simply did not have enough against the dominant San Antonio Spurs, who swept the series 4-0.
"You have that third player, definitely one of the top three players in this league, that can go get his own shot at anytime and that's what makes them more unsafe". And then Durant joined a team that already won a title, reached consecutive Finals and set the regular-season wins record with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Green. This is all the motivation that James will need to be at his best, lending hope to the Cavaliers' faithful.
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue has been impressed with what he has seen from Durant with the Warriors.
Let's get back to those numbers. A Warriors title felt preordained before the season began. When they score 102 or less, they're 1-9.
When shooting over 50 percent, they've won 106 consecutive games, the last 43 of those coming this season. Known as "Wilt the Stilt", the athletic, 7-foot-1 Chamberlain led the league in scoring his first seven seasons, shattering National Basketball Association scoring records and changing the National Basketball Association style of play forever.
The "Threematch", of course, is made more intriguing by the fact Golden State raised the trophy in June 2015 while the Cavaliers raised it last June.
Except those Warriors aren't these Warriors. Love broke out in a big way in the Eastern Conference finals after opening the playoffs with two quiet rounds, averaging 22.6 points and 12.4 rebounds against Boston.
Durant is the difference. Sure, he's one of the NBA's most efficient three-point shooters, but Cleveland was seeking a playmaker at the time, and Korver did not fit the bill.
However, Kerr not coaching during the Finals (assuming he does not return) probably will not be too big of a deal considering the Warriors have done just fine without him.
Durant simply said he wanted to play with a team that had a chance to win a championship. Now he comes into this series off a sizzling conference finals series, shooting 62 percent against Boston. Durant has heard so much criticism for leaving Oklahoma City and moving to Golden State last summer. The cheapest ticket for Game 1 at Oracle Arena is now $431, more than 35 percent cheaper than 2016's least expensive ticket ($665) and 27 percent cheaper than 2015's ($594). They're rested. They're healthy. "They always push themselves to new limits".