Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and the Golden State Warriors battle LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of their NBA Finals rematch on Thursday night.
Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…
GAME 1: CLEVELAND CAVALIERS at GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
Where: Oracle Arena
Tip-off: 9 p.m.
Live stream: WatchESPN.com
Three things to watch...
We had a pretty good feeling this was going to happen, that the Cavs and Warriors would meet again for the third straight time in the NBA Finals, even though that had never happened before in the game's history. They are far and away the best teams in their conference and that was evidenced by the Warriors going undefeated through the first three rounds of the playoffs and by the Cavs losing just one game.
Cleveland and Golden State can now settle a great debate and that is which team has the biggest reason to complain about the finals they lost. Which team is closer to being two-time defending champs? The Cavaliers were up 2-1 in 2015, did not have Kevin Love for the entire series and only had Kyrie Irving for Game 1, yet they lost in six games. The Warriors were up 3-1 in 2016 before Draymond Green was suspended for Game 5. They went on to lose the series. Hopefully this series gives neither side a reason to cry foul.
Durant joins the fun
Though these teams are meeting for the third time, this series will have one massive difference. That's because Kevin Durant, a former MVP, joined the Warriors who had won 73 games last season and who had taken the Cavs to seven games. Will Durant's addition swing the series, or maybe even help the Warriors win easily? Some are certainly predicting that.
Durant has been playing exceptional basketball in the playoffs. He's averaging 25.2 points on a ridiculous 55.6 percent shooting, including 41.7 percent from three. Somebody on the Cavs has to stop him.
Cavs are on fire
We'll see if the long layoff affected them, but the Cavaliers were shooting at an incredible rate from three through their first 13 playoff games. They hold a 43.5 three-point percentage as a team. For some context, that would rank fourth in the NBA this past season among individual players. Add in the fact the Cavs are doing this on over 33 attempts per game and it is extremely impressive.
Speaking of that, watch out for Love. He missed the first series between these teams and was awful last year when he averaged just 8.5 points on 36.2 percent from the field. Through 13 games in these playoffs, he's put up 17.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and has shot 47.5 percent from three. That looks like a chance for redemption.