So good are the Warriors, who have finished with the NBA's best record in each of the last three seasons and added four-times scoring champion Durant last offseason, that Van Gundy referred to the 2015 National Basketball Association champions as a "dynasty". However, both teams have some auxiliary pieces who could also play huge roles in whether the Golden State Warriors take back the title, or the Cleveland Cavaliers manage to defend it.
The Warriors are the first team to enter the NBA Finals with a ideal 12-0 record.
James rejoined the Cavaliers in 2014 determined to bring a championship to his home state and brought the team back to relevance after four consecutive losing seasons. LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love will pose the biggest threat to the Warriors as they've seen since last year's championship series. When you add rings to an all-time great career, the conversations about James surpassing Jordan as the best of all time will truly begin in earnest.
And just as James struggled in building chemistry in Miami with "Big Three" teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, Durant and his new Golden State teammates had to make adjustments to maximize the contributions of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green as well. Now in the bright lights is when you got to continue to do it, and that's what I'm trying to do.
But despite all of that, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr still doesn't think his team should be getting so much credit. The prediction has now changed, however, as the company believes the Warriors will win. James is the better rebounder (7.7 to 6.6), assist man (6.8 to 3.3) and thief (2.0 steals to 1.3).
And unlike the Warriors squad that blew a 3-1 Finals lead a year ago after a record-setting 73-9 regular season, this version of the team is even more risky after adding former league MVP and four-time scoring champion Kevin Durant. Green is a frontrunner for Defensive Player of the Year and Andre Iguodala won Finals MVP over Curry in 2015. "It will be a massive upset, I think, if they are not there each and every year". Cleveland is 12-1 in the playoffs, winning by an average of 13.6 points.
"When I hear people say that these are now the two teams that are dynasties".
But now, a chance at a second title in three years - a chance to put away memories of a terribly botched pass that basically set up the final Cavaliers run a year ago - is welcomed.
"We're a better Cavaliers team, and they're a better Warriors team", he said.
KPIX 5 learned someone who will be spending a lot of time with the team is secretly rooting against them. Pachulia is back and ready to go after missing two games in the Western Conference finals with a heel injury. He scored 42 in an important Game 4 victory over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals and can stand up to any of Golden State's perimeter players from a scoring and finishing standpoint.
Normally, that matchup would favor Golden State, but Barnes went cold, shooting 35.2 percent from the field.
"If he went out and got 50 one night, let me see if I can do that the next night", James said.
Unsurprisingly, the most expensive ticket for this year's NBA Finals is for Game 7 in Oakland, assuming such a game needs to be played (as soon as one team wins four games, the series is over). Korver ranks second among all active players with 104 playoff games without a Finals appearance, trailing only Joe Johnson's 112 games. You've just got to do what you can and have the intentions to win the game.