OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 19: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts to a play in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images/AFPINDEPENDENCE, Ohio — There’s a four-headed, shot-making, scoreboard-breaking monster out West awaiting LeBron James and the Cavaliers.The Warriors are stomach-churning scary.ADVERTISEMENT Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games James, though, can’t run or hide. With eight NBA Finals appearances under his belt, he is ready to face a team he’s called “a beast.” After all, he has slayed behemoths before.Pushing off any talk about the Warriors until after Sunday’s practice, James was asked to assess the task at hand: beating Golden State’s All-Star-studded lineup of Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingIs this the biggest challenge of his career?“It’s probably up there,” he said. “I mean, it’s up there.” BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast For the sixth time, James enters the Finals as an underdog, hardly a role he’s accustomed to before June. The only time he won a championship as a Finals favorite was with Miami in 2013, when the Heat upended the Spurs for their second straight title.James isn’t worried about point spreads or any odds.“I only play blackjack in Vegas anyway, so it doesn’t matter,” he said.What does matter is that the 32-year-old is having one of his finest postseasons, and the Cavs are gelling the way they did at this time last year.Maybe James has nothing to fear.“I feel good about our chances,” he said. “Very good.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students PLAY LIST 01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes BSP survey: PH banks see bright horizon amid dark global recession clouds BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast Every 18 seconds someone is diagnosed with HIV Palace: Duterte to hear out security execs on alleged China control of NGCP LATEST STORIES Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR MOST READ Stampede at stadium kills 4 fans, unborn fetus in Honduras Cleveland-Golden State 3.0 is the matchup fans worldwide expected and wanted, and James believes they’re in for quite a show.Both the Cavaliers and Warriors have upgraded their rosters from a year ago, when they went seven games in an epic series that spawned the first comeback from a 3-1 deficit in Finals history and resulted in Cleveland winning its first pro sports championship since 1964.That Warriors team James conquered in 2016 won 73 games during the regular season and was being mentioned as one of the best to ever take the floor.Hard to believe, but this version — with Durant — might be even better.Golden State has been putting on a basketball clinic over the past two months, winning 27 of 28 games since March 11 and becoming the first squad to start the postseason 12-0.Durant, who previously faced James in the 2012 Finals with Oklahoma City, has taken a great team and elevated it to a nearly unstoppable level.The Warriors are using Durant in every imaginable way on offense, and James isn’t surprised to see his good friend and Olympic teammate more mobile than he was with the Thunder.“You adapt to the culture,” he said. “You adapt to the style and that’s the same thing that happened to me when I went to Miami. I started to slash more and move more without the ball, shoot more standstill 3s and figure out ways I could be more productive than just having the ball in isolation. So, it’s the right thing to do. He’s one of the most dangerous guys we have in the world already. So it makes it even more dangerous when you equip that talent, that skill with those guys.”On the brink of becoming the first player since the early 1960s to play in seven straight Finals, James finds himself in a similar — and somewhat surprising — situation.The Cavaliers are being given little chance to defend their title against the vaunted Warriors, who have been winning by an average of 16.3 points per game in the playoffs. And then, almost as if he was trying to remind himself that he’s got three championship rings and is frightful in his own right, James recalled other fearsome postseason opponents — San Antonio and Boston.“I’ve played against four Hall of Famers as well, too, with Manu (Ginobili), Kawhi (Leonard), Tony (Parker) and Timmy D (Tim Duncan) on the same team,” said James, occasionally sniffling as he continues to fight a cold. “And if you add Pop (coach Gregg Popovich) in there, that’s five Hall of Famers. So, it’s going to be very challenging. Those guys are going to challenge me, they’re going to challenge our ballclub.“This is a high-powered team.”James also took on a Celtics team loaded with big-name talents.“I’ve played against Ray (Allen), KG (Kevin Garnett), Paul (Pierce), (Rajon) Rondo and Doc (Rivers). So, it’s going to be very challenging not only on me mentally, but on our ballclub and on our franchise.”ADVERTISEMENT Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information.
Kevin Durant out with Achilles injury; to undergo MRI on Tuesday PLAY LIST 03:12Kevin Durant out with Achilles injury; to undergo MRI on Tuesday01:08Huge Toronto crowd celebrates Raptors’ historic win01:43Who are Filipinos rooting for in the NBA Finals?02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Nurse’s office in Toronto has a guitar stand on one side of his desk and a piano on the other. He’s trying to master both; the guitar travels with him on the road and he’s been known to strum it while studying film. The piano doesn’t exactly fit in the overhead storage bin of the plane so it stays behind.Nurse says he’s not any good yet.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsHis team, however, is making plenty of beautiful music so far in these NBA Finals.The moment has not been too big for Nurse or the Raptors. They lead the title series 2-1 after a 123-109 win over injury-depleted Golden State on Wednesday night, an outcome that puts the two-time defending NBA champions in trouble. The maestro of the best season in Toronto history is a 51-year-old NBA coaching rookie, one who’s making plenty of right moves. “He looks young,” Raptors guard Kyle Lowry said. “But he’s pretty old.”Nurse might have been an unknown to casual NBA fans when he got the job a year ago following the firing of his former boss in Toronto, Dwane Casey. Nurse was an assistant on Casey’s staff, largely credited with running things on the offensive side of the ball. He had good relationships with players, but the task of replacing someone who was the NBA’s coach of the year and got fired anyway was daunting nonetheless.He has handled it with ease.“Each game’s critical, and the next one will be as critical as (Game 3) was,” Nurse said. “So it’s been like that all through the playoffs, and we just got to guard and play who is out there. That’s all we can do.”The guy he’s going against has eight rings already. Steve Kerr won five as a player, has three more from his first four seasons as coach of the Warriors and still very much has a chance at a fourth in five seasons.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ But this is no coaching mismatch.“I’ve watched Nick closely,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle, the president of the National Basketball Coaches Association, said earlier in the series. “We played against him twice this year. He’s terrific in making adjustments and I love the way he’s approached the entire season. They have set up the entire season to work to get to this point and for a first-time NBA head coach, that’s not easy to do.”For a first-timer, no, it wouldn’t be easy.Thing is, Nurse is no ordinary rookie.He’s won championships — four of them, two in the British league, two more in what’s now called the G League. That’s not the NBA, of course, but there’s a progression that he’s followed, a long slow path that saw him coaching teams most people have never heard of like the NAIA’s Grand View University, Telindus Oostende in Belgium, the Oklahoma Storm of the USBL.“Some pretty remote places,” Nurse said.He got tons of attention for throwing a box-and-one on Warriors star Stephen Curry late in Game 2 of this series. Some would say that’s an unconventional move. Not for Nurse. He spent one season basically full-court pressing the whole time so he could collect the data. He’s been known to count certain shots in practice as 4-pointers, to emphasize the need for proper spacing.He’s part-coach, part-chemist.“Like a laboratory,” Nurse said.The lab on Wednesday night was Oracle Arena. The Raptors survived a 47-point night from Curry and prevailed over a Golden State team without Kevin Durant, Kevon Looney and Klay Thompson. Looney’s season is over. Durant may be back for Game 4. Thompson figures to be back. The Warriors are almost certainly going to get boosts. DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Two-day strike in Bicol fails to cripple transport “Five guys are going to be out there,” Nurse said. “You really can’t worry about that.”It’s still too early to tell whether Nurse and the Raptors can pull this off.But Lowry knows his coach will be ready.“His mind for the game has been special, and the growth throughout the year has been pretty good for him,” Lowry said. “He’s not a first-time head coach — he’s a first-time NBA head coach. But the experience that he’s had in his many leagues and teams that he’s been a head coach before, he’s kind of just kind of stepped up and continued to grow with that.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Duterte wants probe of SEA Games mess Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse speaks at a news conference after Game 3 of basketball’s NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Raptors in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)OAKLAND, California—Toronto coach Nick Nurse plays to the beats to his own drum.And that’s not even one of the instruments that he’s messing around with these days.ADVERTISEMENT Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Catholic schools seek legislated pay hike, too LATEST STORIES ‘Rebel attack’ no cause for concern-PNP, AFP Ankle injury forces Neymar out of Copa America Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. 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