King James stands in the way of a Warriors repeat, just as he did in spoiling that quest for Golden State and leading the Cavs to a championship two years ago with a Game 7 win on the Warriors' home court, where they have now won 17 of the last 18 postseason games.
Though he didn't even play during three different contests against the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals, David West is a savvy veteran who remains a bruising defender and gifted passer.
They're in the finals again anyway, led by someone who will play in the last series of the season for an absurd eighth consecutive year.
So it's been a bit harried.
"The Warriors make you pay the price for making mistakes", said former coach and player Jackson.
"I'd rather do it this way than have nine days to prepare", Kerr said on the "Podcast One Sports Now" show previewing Game 1 of the NBA Finals with host Tim Reynolds. "And then you know we come into the season, and our All-Star point guard that we got from Boston wasn't able to play until January".
The Cavs claimed the 2016 title in dramatic fashion, becoming the first team in National Basketball Association history to rally from a 3-1 deficit and win the series, 4-3.
May 27, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) and guard George Hill (3) high five after scoring against the Boston Celtics during the fourth quarter in game seven of the Eastern conference finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden.
Also on the podcast: Cavs coach Tyronn Lue talks about his health and ESPN's Doris Burke breaks down the series - including why she roots for both LeBron James and Kevin Durant.More news: Wildwood police release body camera footage of controversial beach arrest
The Lakers have made an NBA-record 31 trips to the Finals and claimed 16 National Basketball Association titles.
The Cavs upsetting the Warriors was such a traumatic experience for the Dubs that Draymond Green supposedley recruited Kevin Durant from the parking lot after Game 7.
On one side, the best team of this era. Their net rating dropped to minus-8.8 when he went to the bench-a number that would be even lower if he were allowed any more time to rest.
James had no doubt who would win. And with his Finals foe determined as the Warriors for the fourth straight season, he shifted to his physical prep for the series on Tuesday.
So, Golden State held a serious team chat and got it together at last. "I think that two and a half minutes was a special moment for us, and it should give us great momentum going into the series". Or will this finally be the time Golden State puts the hammer down and takes care of business?
If he can get some rebounds that lead to second-chance points, the Cavaliers will have more chances at three-pointers that they must hit if they hope to win this series.
Unlike that Rockets-Warriors game, he doesn't know what will happen in Game 1. Since I began using the model to predict outcomes, I have been able to correctly identify the victor in about 70 percent of games.
"We're light-years ahead of probably every other team in structure, in planning, in how we're going to go about things", Lacob said.