It doesn't matter that it's just a regular season game in January. All eyes will be on the Warriors and Cavaliers when the two clash in Cleveland on Monday night.
“We just want to kick each other’s ass,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Sunday to The Mercury News. “There’s no sort of love lost. That’s how it should be. We should be trying to beat each other.”
The Warriors (35-9) head into the showdown with the best record in the NBA. On the other side, it's been an up-and-down season for the Cavs (26-16). Cleveland currently sits in third place and is in the midst of a three-game losing streak.
None of that matters though. These two have met in the NBA Finals each of the past three seasons with the Warriors winning two titles, and both teams breaking each other's hearts.
When speaking on the rivalry, Kerr sees it as differnt than that of past great teams because of the shift in the league.
“Lakers-Boston was the dominant rivalry. Our rivalry with Cleveland is the analogy of the modern NBA,” Kerr said. “It’s the same thing. You got superstars all over the floor. You’ve had three Finals meetings. You have so many games and so many people watching. It’s definitely a special feeling in the building when both teams are there.”
In a sense, Steph Curry agrees with how Kerr sees that rivalry between Golden State and Cleveland.
“From a historical perspective, it’s going to be to tough to top Lakers and the Celtics and the prime of the 80’s in NBA history,” Curry said. “But we can strong arm the 21st century, and see what happens.”
There will be star power everywhere Monday night in Cleveland. Between the two teams, there are four former NBA MVP winners (Curry, Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Derrick Rose), and 12 All-Stars (Curry, Durant, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, David West, Andre Iguodala, James, Rose, Dwyane Wade, Isaiah Thomas, Kevin Love, and Kyle Korver). Rose is currently out with an injury.
Win or lose, memories of battling the Cavs will last forver for Kerr. He's gone through the highest of highs and lowest of lows in this rivalry.
"In 20 years when we see each other, we’re all going to hug," Kerr says. "When I see [Cleveland coach] Ty Lue and Steph sees LeBron, it’ll be like, ‘Wow that’s awesome.'”