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James undaunted by facing Warriors again

(Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) There's a four-headed, shot-making, scoreboard-breaking monster out West awaiting LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

The Warriors are stomach-churning scary.

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.

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Celtics' Thomas wanted to keep playing

Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas wanted to keep playing in the Eastern Conference finals, but team doctors and officials convinced him he needed to shut down his season for his long-term health.

"They had multiple people come in and talk to me about what's more important," Thomas said Friday, a day after the Celtics were eliminated by the Cleveland Cavaliers. "But I definitely wasn't trying to hear that at that point in time."

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Defending champ Cavs underdogs in finals

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) Vegas is betting against them and the bookies are hardly alone.

Let's be honest, not many are giving the Cleveland Cavaliers much of a chance in the NBA Finals. They may be defending champions and they may have LeBron James, but against Golden State, they are definite underdogs.

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Hype begins for Cavaliers-Warriors III

Here they go again.

For the third straight year, it's Cleveland and Golden State in the NBA Finals. The 2016 champions versus the 2015 champions . The first "threematch" - rematch of a rematch - in league history. It's the matchup most expected, the matchup most predicted, and probably the matchup the Cavaliers and Warriors wanted as well.

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Brown still waiting on Lue to pay up bet

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Mike Brown is ready for Tyronn Lue to pay up on a nearly two-decade-old bet. Yep, Lue owes him $100 and Brown plans to accept it at long last - perhaps even during the NBA Finals when they see each other.

All this time Brown never wanted the money he earned by beating Lue in a shooting contest when the Cavaliers coach was an NBA newcomer, yet Golden State's acting coach - who spent two stints leading Cleveland - joked how Lue can surely afford it these days.

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GM Myers' humility a hit with Warriors

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) When Bob Myers hosts a dinner party, he is the guy who once it's all over has a pretty good read on the entire evening: who had a great time, who held something back, which couples are getting along, who might be dealing with a life challenge but chose to keep it private.

"All those things go through my mind, without me trying to. Some people, none of that goes through their mind," Myers said. "They ate, and did what they did. I don't know why those things are. I don't know how you are. ... We all have different intuitions and skills."

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Stan Van Gundy wins Tomjanovich Award

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) Stan Van Gundy of the Detroit Pistons has won the Rudy Tomjanovich Award, which honors an NBA coach for his cooperation with media and fans, as well as excellence on the court.

The Professional Basketball Writers Association announced the winner Friday. Van Gundy was one of five finalists for the award. The others were Steve Clifford of the Charlotte Hornets, Mike D'Antoni of the Houston Rockets, David Fizdale of the Memphis Grizzlies and Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics.

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Kerr not ready to rejoin Warriors bench

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Steve Kerr is involved in just about everything but the actual game-day coaching for the Golden State Warriors - film session, coaches meetings, game-planning and practice.

He's just not yet ready from a health standpoint to be back on the bench with the start of the NBA Finals a week away.

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Hawks hire Warriors' Schlenk as GM

ATLANTA (AP) The Atlanta Hawks hired Travis Schlenk as general manager and head of basketball operations on Thursday, giving the Golden State assistant GM control of personnel decisions.

Schlenk succeeds Wes Wilcox, who resigned May 5 as part of the restructuring of the Hawks' front office.

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Minus Thomas, Celtics no match for Cavs

BOSTON (AP) Avery Bradley one game. Kelly Olynyk another. Marcus Smart stepped into the starting lineup, and rookie Jaylen Brown helped out from the bench.

The Boston Celtics showed this postseason that they have players who could fill in for Isaiah Thomas when the star point guard was injured.

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