Sick of Warriors-Cavs? Durant and LeBron aren’t

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OAKLAND, Calif. — It appears that some fans are not too thrilled to see a Cleveland CavaliersGolden State Warriors NBA Finals matchup for the fourth consecutive year.

But Kevin Durant doesn’t feel that way.

“I think it’s great,” the Warriors forward said. “You just get a great set of players on the court. 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.”

LeBron James was a bit more straightforward with his response.

“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,” he said. “If you want to see somebody else in the postseason, then you got to beat them. Or in the Finals, in that case.”

Golden State has won two of the past three titles, while James & Co. captured their lone championship in 2016 after coming back from a 3-1 series deficit.

While some have raised concerns that the lack of parity — the Warriors and Cavaliers are the first teams in any of the four major North American sports to meet in four consecutive championship games or series — has hurt the NBA, the numbers tell a different story. The league’s average attendance of 17,987 per game in 2017-18 was an all-time high, and the recently completed conference finals were the league’s most watched in six years and second-most watched in the past 16 years, according to Nielsen data shared by the NBA on Wednesday.

When James was asked specifically if it was good for the NBA to have the same two teams in the Finals four years in a row, he said, “You’ve got to ask Adam Silver.”

Commissioner Silver — who’ll surely be asked about the issue at his pre-Finals news conference Thursday night — made his thoughts on the matter known before last year’s Finals, telling ESPN, “It’s just hard for me to fathom how there becomes this perception that at the moment there are only two teams that are truly competitive in the league. I just don’t believe it.”

But while it has been the same teams for four years, the same can’t be said of the players. If the currently injured Andre Iguodala returns to play at some point in this series, he’ll be one of just eight players to have played in all four Cavaliers-Warriors Finals (Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Shaun Livingston, JR Smith, Tristan Thompson and James are the others).

While addressing reporters at Wednesday’s media day, Durant exchanged friendly banter with Cavaliers players Kendrick Perkins, James and Thompson.

That familiarity between the teams is why Durant insists this series is good for basketball.

“I think this is a great display of basketball on the court from both sides, and if you’re a real lover of the game, you can enjoy how both teams play it, even though it may be different,” Durant said. “It’s still organic and true to the game, pure to the game. So if you enjoy basketball, I don’t feel like you should have any complaints because it’s a great set of players on both teams.”

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