The speculation about a fourth NBA Finals meeting between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors began mere seconds after JR Smith made a relatively meaningless 3-pointer in the waning seconds of the Cavs’ Game 5 loss a year ago (relatively, because it did give LeBron James the final assist he needed to average a triple-double for the series).
The confetti hadn’t even begun to fall in Oakland, California, when the questions began: Would anyone be able to stop these teams from meeting again? What could possibly derail two of the most unstoppable freight trains in their respective conferences in NBA history? Why even bother playing the 2017-18 season? Why not just skip to May 31, 2018, for the start of another inevitable Cavaliers-Warriors Finals?
To be fair, last postseason gave critics little reason to believe that this year would be any different. Entering last year’s Finals, the Warriors were a perfect 12-0 in the postseason and the Cavaliers were 12-1, leading many to believe their conference dominance would go unchecked for another season. Even after a wild offseason that saw the Cavaliers part ways with general manager David Griffin and star point guard Kyrie Irving and saw Kevin Durant re-up with the Warriors at a significant discount, both teams were considered the favorites to return to the Finals at the end of what some feared would be a “boring” season.
While the end result — a fourth consecutive NBA Finals pitting the Cavaliers against the Warriors — came to pass as expected, the journey there was anything but boring.
Cavaliers vs Warriors: The Golden State Warriors will host the Cleveland Cavaliers for Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday at 9 p.m. ET.
That’s a line that could have been written word for word for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 editions, as the two teams are facing off in the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive year.
Per NBA.com, the same two teams have never met in the championship round four consecutive times in MLB, the NHL or the NFL. Further research indicates that such a feat would be a first in MLS and the WNBA as well, although the Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks have met in the championship for two years and counting in the latter league.
Cavaliers vs Warriors Live
NBA Finals 2018 schedule
* if necessary
Game 1 in Oakland: June 1, 2am BST
Game 2 in Oakland: June 4, 1am BST
Game 3 in Cleveland: June 7, 2am BST
Game 4 in Cleveland: June 9, 2am BST
Game 5* in Oakland: June 12, 2am BST
Game 6* in Cleveland: June 15, 2am BST
Game 7* in Oakland: June 18, 1am BST
Although the Warriors are heavy favorites in this year’s championship, per OddsShark, it wouldn’t be the biggest shock to see Cavs forward LeBron James drop 40-point triple doubles en route to a massive upset.
Of course, beating the Warriors four times will be a Herculean task, but as the old New York lottery slogan goes, “hey, you never know.”
ABC will broadcast the series, and fans can also view the contests via WatchESPN or the ESPN app.