BOSTON — As they celebrated defending their Eastern Conference title Thursday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers weren’t ready to focus on defending their NBA championship.
Despite going through the East playoffs at 12-1 and appearing destined for a rematch against the Golden State Warriors for months, the Cavs pushed off thoughts of what awaits them in Oakland next week.
“I’m going to be honest, I’m not in the right mind to even talk about Golden State,” LeBron James said after scoring 35 points in the Cavs’ 135-102 Game 5 win over the Boston Celtics. “It’s too stressful, and I’m not stressed right now. I’m very happy about our accomplishment. Golden State, they’ve been the best team in our league for the last three years, and then they added an MVP (Kevin Durant). That’s all I can give you right now, because I’m happy and I don’t want to be stressed.”
The team’s first big decision involving the Warriors was to come on its flight home to Cleveland, where director of team operations Mark Cashman planned to take a vote among the players about what uniforms they wanted to wear for Game 1. The Cavs won the title in Game 7 at Golden State last June wearing their black jerseys.
Other than that, coach Tyronn Lue said he was not focused on the Warriors as yet.
“To be honest, I didn’t do not one prep for Golden State yet because I really believe that this (Boston) team is a good team and I didn’t want to look too far ahead,” Lue said. “I’m very happy and I’m going to enjoy it until we play Golden State. With that being said, tonight I’ll start my prepping, and we’ll see what happens.”
After routinely discussing the Warriors during the 2015-16 season after losing to them in the 2015 Finals, the Warriors were not a common topic around the team over the past several months.
But after showering each other with water to celebrate the victory, most players didn’t want to talk about Game 1, which was seven days away.
“They are a really good team, we have a ton of respect for them,” Cavs guard Kyle Korver said. “I know there’s a little bit of history with these two teams in the Finals the last few years. Right now we are going to enjoy this and we will think about the Warriors tomorrow.”