CAVS: Defending champs ready to prove their worth in these winner-take-all games

INDEPENDENCE, OH (WOIO) - Despite not being the favorite, the Cleveland Cavaliers are confident as they prepare for their final seven game series of the 2016-17 NBA playoffs.

"Game 1 will be a tell-tale sign of how the series will go," Kyrie Irving said. "You just take what you can and just be prepared for the unexpected."

The Cavs have been there before so they know what to expect and what they need to do to win.

Thursday's game will be the third time in a row that the Cavs have faced the Golden State Warrriors in the NBA Finals.

"They garner a lot of attention for a lot of great reasons. They play such uptempo basketball and have great players and they play well as a team," Irving said.

"He's [Steph Curry] a two-time MVP, he's a great player, very dangerous player offensively," Coach Ty Lue added.

MORE: Underdog Cavs insist they have plenty of bite for Finals

They are going into Game 1 with a lot of faith. Perhaps the reigning champs are feeling a little less stressed after having beat the Warriors last year. Irving said there are still a lot of things the players want to accomplish personally, and as a team, but the feeling going into this series is a little bit different.

"The cloud wavering over heads, it all just went away once we won a championship. We're a lot more focused, we're settled in" Irving said.

"We're a confident group. We're playing well. We're just excited to finally get the ball rolling," said Coach Lue.

In case you forgot: the Cavs beat the Warriors in Game 7 of last year's NBA Finals.

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