Down 3-0 in the NBA Finals and on the brink of elimination, Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James compared his opponent favorably with a team in a different sport locally.
"The margin of error is very low. It's almost like playing the Patriots," James said of the Golden State Warriors. "You just can't have mistakes. They’re not going to beat themselves."
This is the fourth consecutive June in which the Cavs and Warriors have met in the NBA Finals. Short of the first comeback from a 3-0 series deficit in NBA history, Golden State will have defeated Cleveland in three of the four match-ups -- the last two with Kevin Durant in the fold alongside Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
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The lone win for the Cavaliers, which came in 2016, was a seven-game thriller in which Kyrie Irving drained a 3-pointer in the final minute of Game 7 to break an 89-89 tie and complete Cleveland's comeback from a 3-1 series deficit.
Irving, of course, is now a member of the Boston Celtics.
"When you’re able to force a miscue, you have to be able to capitalize and then you have to be so in tune and razor sharp and focus every single possession," James said as he continued the analogy. "You can’t have miscommunication, you can’t have lulls, you can’t have my-faults or my-bads or things like that, cause they’re gonna make you pay."
The Warriors are a win away from winning their third championship in a four year span. The Patriots had a chance to do the same in February before losing Super Bowl LII to the Philadelphia Eagles. New England did win three titles in a four-year span between 2001 and 2004, the beginning of the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick era.
James could soon have an even closer look at the Patriots. According to ESPN's Steven A. Smith, the Celtics are one of seven teams LeBron will consider when he reaches free agency this summer.