The reigning champion Cavaliers dropped just a single game on their way through the eastern conference playoffs prior to the NBA Finals.
With Durant, the Warriors reached the NBA Finals a flawless 12-0 in the postseason after sweeping each of the previous three rounds and then found another gear against the Cavaliers.
Haunted by memories of a momentum-swinging flop past year, the playoff unbeaten Golden State Warriors adopted a cautious tone on the eve of Wednesday's third game of the NBA Finals.
Guess that happens when you're down 0-2.
"We made that mistake by circling 73 and worrying about the wrong thing before", Green said Tuesday, suggesting the Warriors might've lost some focus before last year's playoffs started.
While James professed fuzzy recall, some points about a year ago are indelibly etched in Warriors brains.
In last year's Finals, Irving averaged 30.0 points per game in the team's four wins and just 23.3 in the three losses. They set a great tone. "There is no comparison even though we're down 0-2 going back home".
If the Warriors win Game 3 this year, to take a 3-0 stranglehold, they will have essentially ended the possibility of a repeat disappointment.
"It takes a mental toll just when you lose". No matter if it's a series or game. "But how can you refocus your mind, how can you refuel it to understand that at the end of the day it is a series?"
Draymond Green insisted he and the Warriors are ready for the Cavs to come at them with everything short of tire irons.
Tonight, the Warriors will try to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the NBA Finals. But if the Cavs want a fighting chance to get back in this series, or at least have it extend past Friday night's Game 4, they need a whole lot more from Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith and most importantly Kyrie Irving.
"I just said, 'Hey, man. We've got to come out and play our best game of the series to win".
"You win two games at home, you haven't really done anything yet", Kerr said.
Pluto says that Durant's inclusion among the Warriors' stars is nearly seamless, citing Durant's passing skills, his ability to work as a teammate and his success in guarding LeBron James. All that makes another comeback seem terribly tough.
"A lot of people said we couldn't". It's a formula that's based around Curry and Durant's combined dominance being too much for anyone - even a team featuring LeBron James - to overcome. He hit Cleveland's first shot of these Finals - a corner three to open Game 1 - and hasn't hit a shot since. Game 2 was a bit better but more of the same. James had a Game 2 triple-double.
I do not say this casually or recklessly. "You never want to be down 2-0 in a series against anybody. We know how hard it is to be the best team in the league".
The Warriors plan to get James' best.
Smith didn't attempt many shots in Cleveland's playoff run through the Eastern Conference, but he hit almost 45 percent of his threes and played passable defense for the Cavs to get here.
While Durant makes a difference, he doesn't alter Cleveland's task.