The third-straight Finals meeting between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers seems inevitable, except to Tyronn Lue

On Tuesday night, Cleveland dropped the Boston Celtics 112-99 and took a 3-1 series lead. It’s notable that Boston is without All-Star Isaiah Thomas, but the Celtics have given the Cavaliers a run for their money over the last couple of games. Because of that, Lue isn’t letting his mind wander beyond the current matchup.

“You can’t,” said Lue to Joe Vardon of after they asked if he began to gameplan for Golden State. “As much as you want to, it’s not over. [The Celtics are], like I told you guys before, it’s like we’re preparing for a whole new team. Like, we didn’t know what they were going to run. Isaiah (Thomas) goes down and they’re running a totally different offense than we prepared for so it’s been tough on us. And defensively, they’re a lot better. They don’t have a lot of weak links to go to, to go at.”

The “totally different offense” that Lue brings up has a ton of moving pieces and forces the Celtics to share the ball. Boston had 26 assists on 35 made shots on Tuesday and 28 dimes on 42 in Game 3. That’s vastly different to how the offense runs with Thomas. With their five-foot killer, all Cleveland had to do was force the ball out of his hands. On top of that, Boston is much improved defensively by becoming bigger and more versatile.

Also Read: LeBron ‘Didn’t Have It’ During Game 3

Golden State’s made quick work of their first three opponents and enter the Finals at an unblemished 12-0. Their offense is very similar to the Celtics — except it’s on steroids. Instead of Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder, there’s Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant; Stephen Curry instead of Marcus Smart and Draymond Green instead of Al Horford.

“The stuff they’re running, it’s harder to defend than Golden State’s (offense) for me, as far as the actions and all the running around and all the guys who are making all the plays, so it’s a totally different thing,” continued Lue.

This may not be totally outrageous. Sometimes, if you get lucky, the Warriors will take a play or two off and have Curry or Durant create a shot. Boston doesn’t have that. Without Thomas, none of the other options have much of a chance at creating their own shot, so the Cavaliers have to chase five guys around for almost every possession. Of course, that’s far less daunting when no All-NBA players are involved in the action.

Cleveland can close out the series Thursday night in Boston, and it’ll be the first time since 2015 that LeBron James is playing a close-out game in Beantown. What happened the last time? The Cavaliers won 101-93 and swept the Celtics in the opening round of the playoffs. James finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

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