Basketball

LeBron has no fear for Warriors' 'Famous Four'

James motivated by Finals victories over star-studded San Antonio in 2013 and Golden State last year

NBA FINALS, GAME ONE
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers may need a Herculean effort to upset the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, but the game's most prolific play-off scorer said he has beaten similar teams before.

James acknowledged that toppling a Warriors team boasting the "Famous Four" - two-time reigning league Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry, four-time scoring champion Kevin Durant, defensive specialist Draymond Green and sweet-shooting Klay Thompson - will be among the toughest tasks of his career.

But the three-time NBA champion was also quick to point out that he has faced such a talent-laden squad on the NBA's biggest stage before - in 2013 against San Antonio while playing with Miami - and came out on the winning side.

"It's probably up there," James said after practice yesterday morning (Singapore time) when asked if the upcoming Warriors clash represents the toughest task he has ever faced on court.

"Obviously, I mean, I've played against four Hall of Famers as well too with Manu (Ginobili), Kawhi (Leonard), Tony (Parker) and Timmy D (Tim Duncan) on the same team.

"And, if you add Pop (Gregg Popovich) in there, that's five Hall of Famers."

James even brought up the Boston Celtics teams he battled in the play-offs, both as a member of Cleveland and Miami, which featured Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and head coach Doc Rivers.

Cleveland may be the reigning champions after having beaten Golden State in last year's Finals and are 12-1 this post-season, but are underdogs against a top-seeded Warriors team sporting an unblemished play-off record.

But James is always up for a challenge and should never be ruled out.

Last year, he carried his team back from the brink as the Cavs became the first team to rally from a 3-1 deficit in the best-of-seven NBA Finals and win the title.

After Golden State failed to repeat as champions following a campaign in which they had a record 73 wins during the 82-game regular season, they acquired Durant, by far the biggest prize of the free-agent market.

James knows he will have his hands full when the series opens in Oakland on Friday morning, but said he likes his team's chances of pulling off what Las Vegas would consider an upset.

"Those guys are going to challenge me, they are going to challenge our ball club," said James, who last week surpassed Michael Jordan as the all-time play-off leading scorer.

"This is a high-powered team... it's going to be very challenging not only for me mentally but also for our ball club and our franchise." - REUTERS