Cavaliers vs Warriors: They meet in the 2018 NBA Finals Game 1

Kevin Durant smiled sheepishly when asked if it’s good for the NBA to have the same two teams returning to the NBA Finals year after year.

“Yeah, I think it’s great, I think it’s great,” he said, before pausing. “You want me to elaborate?

“I mean, it may not be as suspenseful as a lot of people want it to be or as drama-filled, but that’s what you’ve got movies and music for.”

The Boston Celtics and Lakers met seven times in the 1950s and ’60s and three times during a four-year span in the 1980s. Theirs is the greatest NBA Finals rivalry the league has ever seen. The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t there yet. But they are starting to create history of their own.

When the Finals begin Thursday, it will be the fourth consecutive year in which the Warriors have played the Cavaliers. It’s the first time in the history of the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball or NHL that the same teams have met for a championship in four consecutive years. It is also LeBron James’ eighth consecutive Finals appearance, making him the sixth player in NBA history, and the first in more than 50 years, to accomplish that feat.

Some of the faces have changed. The storylines have shifted. But no one’s been able to stop the Cavaliers or the Warriors from reaching each season’s inevitable conclusion.

“Teams have had their opportunities to beat the Cavs over the last four years, and teams have had the opportunities to beat the Warriors over the last four years,” James said. “If you want to see somebody else in the [Finals], then you got to beat them.”

Both teams enter Thursday’s game with some uncertainty. For at least Game 1, the Warriors won’t have Andre Iguodala, who missed the last four games of the Western Conference finals with a leg contusion. That leaves some doubt as to how successfully the Warriors will be able to guard James, on whom Iguodala has had success.

“LeBron’s a very cerebral player so he does a very good job of always being a threat whether he’s on the ball or off the ball,” Iguodala said. “He does a very good job of making teammates threats. Gotta stay locked in.”

The Cavaliers might be without Kevin Love, who suffered a concussion in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Celtics. Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said if Love is cleared through the league’s concussion protocol, he will start. And where Kyrie Irving has been an integral part of any success Cleveland has had against the Warriors, he was traded last summer to the Celtics.

The Warriors remained mostly unchanged. They brought back all their principals from last season’s championship team — Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Iguodala. The Cavaliers traded Irving for Isaiah Thomas in the summer, then turned over nearly half their roster at the trade deadline in an effort to turn themselves into a championship contender.

It hasn’t worked exactly as Cleveland hoped. The Cavaliers are still significant underdogs in this series, and few expect them to truly challenge the Warriors, who have won two of the previous three Finals with Cleveland. In fact, during Finals media day Wednesday, Curry was asked if the Warriors even fear any player other than James on the Cavaliers roster.

Warriors vs Pelicans Live Stream, schedule, TV channel, online stream

The defending champion Golden State Warriors took care of the Spurs in the opening round of the NBA playoffs and will now face the New Orleans Pelicans in the second round. Both teams have faced each other before in the 2015 postseason, with the Warriors sweeping the Pelicans.

Finishing the season with a record of 58-24, the Warriors secured the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. They advanced to the second round with relative ease, winning the series 4-1, despite playing without Stephen Curry. As for the Pelicans — who took the No. 6 seed, thanks to a 48-34 record — they were the first team to advance to the second round, sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round.

Warriors vs Pelicans Game Live

How to Watch Game 1

  • Date: Saturday, April 28
  • Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
  • Location: Oracle Arena in Oakland, California
  • TV: TNT
  • Live stream: TNTDrama or TNT App

Playoff series schedule

  • Game 1 in Oakland: Saturday, April 28, 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT
  • Game 2 in Oakland: TBA
  • Game 3 in New Orleans: TBA
  • Game 4 in New Orleans: TBA
  • Game 5 in Oakland: TBA (if necessary)
  • Game 6 in New Orleans: TBA (if necessary)
  • Game 7 in Oakland: TBA (if necessary)

Regular season series: Warriors 3, Pelicans 1

Last season’s playoff results: The Warriors won the Finals, beating the Cavaliers by four games to one; the Pelicans did not make the postseason

Injury report: The Warriors may get back Stephen Curry, who is listed as questionable for Game 1 after practicing in full with the team Thursday. The Pelicans are without DeMarcus Cousins for the remainder of the season due to a torn Achilles tendon.

Golden State Warriors projected starting lineup: G Klay Thompson; G Andre Iguodala; F Kevin Durant; F Draymond Green; C JaVale McGee

New Orleans Pelicans projected starting lineup: G Jrue Holiday; G Rajon Rondo; F Nikola Mirotic; F E’Twaun Moore; C Anthony Davis

Golden State wins if …

They don’t underestimate the Pelicans and take care of their business. The Pelicans were impressive in the first round, but the Warriors are a better team. Even if Steph Curry misses a few games, this is a series the Warriors should be able to win. But the Pelicans do have Anthony Davis, and Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo were spectacular in the first round, and that trio can make things interesting if the Warriors are in any way checked out.

New Orleans wins if …

They continue to play like they did in round one and Anthony Davis is the best player in the series. The Pelicans were tremendous in their first-round sweep of the Trail Blazers, and they’ll need to be just as good, if not better, if they want to pull the upset on the Warriors. In order for that to happen, they’ll need Davis to keep leading the way. If he outplays all four of the Warriors’ All-Stars, then the Pelicans might have a chance.