Warriors, Cavaliers stars talk ahead of NBA Finals

Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James practices at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. on June 3, 2015.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James practices at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. on June 3, 2015.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The first NBA Finals in Oakland in 40 years tips off Thursday night at Oracle Arena. You can watch the series only on ABC7.

The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers both practiced Wednesday and talked with members of the media. Cavs star LeBron James is playing in his fifth consecutive NBA Finals.

"As a team, we just have to be alert to him," said Warriors forward Harrison Barnes. "Just contest all of his jump shots."

It was a question asked of nearly every Warrior on the eve of Thursday's Game 1 -- how do you defend the man who wears gold shoes and calls himself a king?

It's a job that will likely fall to the likes of Andre Igoudala and Draymond Green.

"He's tough to guard," Green said. "Just got to try to make him take tough shots."

Iguodala added, "We got a tough task in front of us, but we also have a game plan we're going to try to execute to try to help us win."

James should feel somewhat at home in Oakland, where he once played on a youth basketball team.

"It's always good to see some friends, you know, that you spent some time with when you were younger," he said. "I know you're rooting for the Warriors, and that's cool."

Warriors guard Stephen Curry spoke Wednesday about James' larger than life fame.

"He'll never sneak into a room without you knowing," he said.

The Warriors also must keep their eye on another Cav with Bay Area connections -- former Saint Mary's College guard Matthew Dellavadova, who was asked about his reputation for dirty play.

"I obviously disagree with it, the tape's there," he said.

Fellow Cavs guard Iman Shumpert added, "He's just playing hard. I don't think Delli's out to get anybody. He's just out here to play hard."

While the players battle it out on the court, the finals will be bittersweet for one Warrior -- assistant coach Alvin Gentry who will soon leave the team that he's come to love.

When asked if he's going to miss it, Gentry said, "Of course I will, of course I will. I've got great friends here on the coaching staff and, you know, Steve I've known since his senior year of high school, so it's a special relationship with him. It's just really tough.

Gentry would not talk about his next team, the New Orleans Pelicans. He wants to focus strictly on the finals over the next two weeks.

In the meantime, there's much discussion about prices for tickets to get into the game. The nosebleed seats are still well above $500 per ticket. And on Wednesday, ABC7 News learned that the Warriors are offering some courtside seats for $50,000 apiece.

ABC7 is the only place where you can watch the Warriors in the NBA Finals. Game 1 at Oracle Arena is Thursday at 6 p.m. Click here for the 2015 NBA Finals schedule. And click here for full coverage on the Warriors.

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