LEBRON James lauded the Golden State Warriors as the best team in the NBA for the past three years, but the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar refused to consider their foe in the last two NBA Finals as a rival.
“I don't think we have a rival in our game today,” said James in speaking to reporters after Cavs practice Sunday (Monday, Manila time) a day before their final regular season meeting with the Warriors.
The four-time MVP explained that he has had more Finals meetings with the San Antonio Spurs in his career and he has never considered it a rivalry as well.
“We've had two great Finals appearances the last two years, but I had the same with San Antonio when I was in Miami. We weren't rivals. And I think I played those guys more, so I wouldn't look at it as rivals," said James, who faced San Antonio for the title three times (2007 with the Cavs, 2013 and 2014 with the Heat).
Still, James reiterated what he said after the Cavs’ win over the Kings on Friday that the Warriors ‘have been the best team the last couple of years, the last three years.’
He went on to say that the current Golden State squad with Kevin Durant in the lineup is greater than the record-setting team last year that won 73-9 in the regular season.
"They're a great team, a hell of a team, probably one of the best teams ever assembled, and they're going to continue to get better and better as the season goes along," said James.
“They're even more dangerous than they were last year, and that's pretty hard to say because they were a damn great team last year and they're even better this year," he added.
On Monday (Tuesday, Manila time), the Cavs make their return to Oracle Arena after winning an epic Game 7 in the NBA Finals to capture the crown last June. James, though, played down the meeting as ‘just one game.’
"I think when you walk into the building, you'll initially have some thoughts of it. I think all of us will, no matter where you were at that time and place. If you're at that arena, you're just going to remember where you were back in June,” he said.
“But I'm in a different place right now than I was in June. It's a different mindset. I'm in a different situation right now," added James.