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NBA Finals Notebook: LeBron's family opposed 2014 return to Cleveland

By Mike Popovich and Joe Scalzo The Canton Repository Published: June 10, 2017 4:00 AM
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In a video from ESPN's "Interrupted" that was posted to the web on Friday, James admitted that his family -- particularly his mother -- opposed his decision to return to Cleveland three years ago, in large part because of Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert's letter that criticized James immediately after leaving for Miami.

The video was shot in February in a barbershop, with Warriors forward Draymond Green next to him.

"For me, it was more, I had to be finally like 'You know what mom, it ain't really about that,'" James said. "Me going back is more of a bigger picture, and more about all these kids, all these people who need inspiration and need a way to get out. And I believe I am that way out. So as much as my mom means everything to me, and as much as my wife means everything to me and my kids. My mom was like, 'You go back, I ain't going back with you.' She was like, 'I'm staying in Miami.' I had to be like, 'Let's not worry about the small (stuff), and let's worry about building something that's bigger than our name.'"

CAVS GO DARK FROM BEHIND THE ARC

The Cavaliers shot 43.5 percent from behind the 3-point line through the first three rounds of this year's playoffs, but they're shooting just 30 percent from the arc in the Finals entering Game 4. Golden State, meanwhile, is shooting 42 percent from 3 in the Finals.

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"They're doing a good job of trying to defend the line, but we also had some open shots that we're missing that we're capable of making," Cavs coach Ty Lue said before Friday's game. "So we just have to do a better job of taking our shots, taking them with confidence. And that's who we are. We have 3-point shooters, and when we're open, we need to take them."

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said some of the Cavs' struggles are due to his team's defense and some of it is luck.

"We're a good defensive team," Kerr said. "We have some speed and length. We like to get out and challenge shooters. And then sometimes guys miss, too. So it's a little of both."

NO REST FOR THE WEARY

LeBron James played 45 minutes, 37 seconds in Game 3, with the Cavs giving up a 10-0 run during a two-minute stretch with him on the bench. Kyrie Irving played 44:23 and Kevin Love 37:16. With Cleveland getting just one day of rest between Games 3 and 4, Lue was asked beforehand if he'll keep giving heavy minutes to those players.

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"We have to," he said. "Our backs are against the wall. It's Game 4. We're down 0-3. So, we've got to do a better job of trying to get those guys some rest going into the fourth quarter. But last game was one of those games that we thought they needed to play. They didn't want to come out. And so we just didn't finish the game the right way. But I wouldn't blame it on fatigue."

SIMPLY THE BEST?

Forget LeBron vs. Michael for a second. Thanks to their 2015 NBA title, a record-setting 73-win regular season a year ago and their historic playoff run this season, the Warriors are already being compared to some of the NBA's greatest teams.

All this talk came before the Warriors could think about lifting the championship trophy for the second time in three years.

"Just part of it," Kerr said before Game 4. "We're kind of used to it the last few years. You get used to all the speculation, chatter, whatever."

Kerr's mindset going into Game 4 was a title-clinching victory, not making history.

"We're just trying to beat the Cavs," he said. "They're a great team. We know that. We know what they're capable of. We're playing tonight, and that's it. Nothing else matters."

BRIGHT FUTURE

There's no doubt the Warriors are a potential dynasty in the making.

They were young, athletic and a championship contender the past few seasons. This year, all they did was add Kevin Durant.

"It's encouraging," Kerr said. "Quite encouraging. It's fun. It's fun to be part of this.

"We want to take care of this year. It's been a great three-year run, but we feel like we can carry this forward. We'll see how long."

BACK TO THE BENCH

The Warriors went 11-0 in the playoffs while Kerr sat out because of complications from back surgery. Returning to the bench in the finals was an easy decision, even though he is not feeling 100 percent.

"It's fun, and I felt better," Kerr said of his decision to return. "And that was my barometer. If I felt better, I was going to do it."


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