Big Dogs: Cavs huge underdogs in NBA Finals against Warriors

Tyronn Lue on long odds to dethrone Golden State "You can't count us out"

Daryl Ruiter
May 29, 2018 - 1:40 pm
Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue holds up the Eastern Conference trophy after defeating the Boston Celtics in the 2018 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – The Cleveland Cavaliers might be the only ones who think they have a legitimate shot of doing what everyone seems to believe to be the impossible: beat the Golden State Warriors 4 times in the NBA Finals.

As the 2 teams meet for the fourth consecutive year, the Cavs once again enter this year’s Finals as monumental underdogs.

“Our focus is winning a championship,” Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue said on a conference call Tuesday morning. “We can’t worry about what the outside guys are saying or who’s being picked.

“We know what we have here and what we’re trying to do.”

How big of a dog are they?

In Las Vegas you’d need to lay down $1,000 just to win $100 if you were to pick the Warriors to win the series. And the margins seem to be growing.

Golden State is a 12-point favorite in Game 1 alone.

Motivation perhaps for the Cavs, who have made it a habit over these past 4 years of thriving in chaos and with their backs against the wall?

“I don’t think we need to have motivation,” Lue said. “Anytime you make it to The Finals, you’re playing for a championship, that’s enough motivation itself.”

With consistently inconsistent play from role players, Lue has leaned on the 4 remaining members of the 2016 title team when the season has been on the line – LeBron James, Kevin Love, JR Smith and Tristan Thompson. But with the exception of James, even they have had thier struggles in the playoffs. 

"Just having these guys here who have been through it, been through the tough times, been through the great times as well, this is a bond that can't be broken," Lue said. "Just reminds me a lot of guys I played with back in the day when you see Horace Grant, Robert Horry, Derek Fisher, just something about winning a championship with those guys that you will never forget, and it's a bond that can't be broken." 

Cavs-Warriors has become the modern version of Lakers-Celtics, except this is the first time in history for the 4 major sports leagues in North America that the same 2 teams will play for a championship in 4 consecutive years.

The Warriors beat the Cavs, who were without All-Stars Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving in 6 games in the 2015 Finals. The Cavs became the first team ever to rally back from a 3-1 deficit to win The Finals in 2016 and Golden State beat the Cavs in 5 games in 2017.  

Both teams are coming off of Game 7 victories in the conference finals – Cleveland over Boston Sunday night and Golden State over Houston Monday night. 

“They’ve been tested, we’ve been tested. We’ve been to Game 7, they’ve been to Game 7. We’ve won a championship, they’ve won championships,” Lue said. “They've been in a lot of positions, but you can't count us out because we’ve been in every possible position that you can be in in the playoffs. We’ve experienced that and we’ve shown that we can win in those situations and so has Golden State.

“It’s not over until it’s over.”