CLEVELAND -- For the third straight season, the Cleveland Cavaliers are battling the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.
And with the Cavaliers and Warriors meeting in an unprecedented third straight Finals series, those integrally involved in the game action sense the city of Cleveland’s excitement and the expectation of another title win after an improbable comeback from a 3-1 deficit against Golden State last June.
“I’m not from here, but I know they’re very excited,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said prior to Game 1. "I know that the city’s very excited. There’s a great buzz around now from what happened last year and last season.
“It’s always been a great sports city. It’s a great sports town. Even when LeBron left, they still came out and supported the team, so we’re just happy we finally got it done, but now, we’ve got to turn the page and get ready for this year.”
Lue embraces the fact that fans are no longer just hoping for a championship after a 52-year drought, but instead, have the expectation of victory against a vaunted Warriors team.
“That’s good,” Lue said. “That’s good. That’s a good thing.”
Lue has gained a sense of how much last year’s NBA Championship meant to fans with chance meetings across the country, and now, the mission for the Cavaliers is to give their supporters even more reason to celebrate.
“It was real,” Lue said. “To bring a championship to the city of Cleveland, to the state of Ohio, that’s all we talked about. The fans were very supportive. Our fans are great. The city’s been supportive, so it was funny.
“You’re in L.A., you’re in Vegas and you see all these people come up to you like, ‘I live in L.A., but I’m from Cleveland’ or ‘I’m from Columbus,’ all kinds of people that you wouldn’t expect living in L.A., living in Vegas from Ohio. We wanted to do it for the city of Cleveland, for the state of Ohio, and that’s all we talked about. This city deserved it, and we gave it to them.
“A lot of cool moments where older people that have been around here for a long time haven’t experienced the chance or the opportunity to win a championship. A couple people cried. A couple people were happy, kids and stuff like that, so it’s been great. We’ve just got to keep it rolling.”