OAKLAND -- With each team following up first-round sweeps with another sweep in the conference finals, the inevitability of a Warriors-Cavaliers NBA Finals trilogy seems to become more evident by the day.
Moreover, it seems each team, having established conference superiority over the past two seasons, wants a piece of the other.
“I know as a basketball fan, that’s what I want to see,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said Wednesday.
Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue shares that feeling.
“So two of the teams that have been in back-to-back Finals -- so, why not? Why not want to see it again?" Lue told reporters in Ohio on Wednesday. "I don't see why it would be a problem. Last year had some of the best ratings, I think, in NBA history. I think now with them adding (Kevin) Durant and the way they're playing, the way we're playing, it can be even higher."
The 2016 NBA Finals drew the highest TV ratings since 1998, when Michael Jordan concluded his Chicago Bulls career by crushing Utah in six games. Game 7 of Warriors-Cavs in June drew the highest single-game ratings since Game 6 of the ’98 series, which featured Jordan’s game-winning shot over Jazz guard Bryon Russell and the extended follow-through.
The Warriors and Cavs have not faced much drama so far. The Warriors tore through the Trail Blazers in the first round and the Jazz in the Western Conference Semifinals, winning by an average of 16.5 points. Cleveland overcame the Pacers in the first round, winning by an average of 4.0 points, before clobbering the Raptors by an average of 15.2 points in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
By every metric, the Warriors and Cavaliers have been best teams in the playoffs.
"A lot of people wanted to see Boston and the Lakers back in the day,” Lue said. “Nowadays, a lot of people want to see Golden State-Cavs. And it's not a problem. Right now, it's two of the teams playing some of the best basketball right now.”
To advance, the Warriors will have to defeat the winner of the Rockets-Spurs series, while the Cavs would have to get past the winner of the Celtics-Wizards series.
“You hear all the talk about it,” Green said of a possible rematch. “You know it’s there. But we’ve got four more games to win before we can reach an NBA Finals. We’ve got to really lock in and try to win those four games.”
The Finals begin June 1.