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The Latest: Lue says 1 game at time is only way for Cavs

Tyronn Lue
The Associated Press

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Latest on the NBA Finals from Game 4 (all times local):

8:15 p.m.

One game at a time may be a sports cliche.

It’s also the only way the Cavaliers can survive.

None of the previous 131 teams which have fallen into a 3-0 hole in the NBA playoffs has ever rallied to win a series. Some team may eventually could break the drought, but Cleveland’s chances appear remote against a Golden State team that hasn’t lost four straight since March 2013.

Still, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue was quick to point out that his team has already defied huge odds.

“No team has ever come back from 3-1 either, and we did it,” Lue said, referring to the Cavs’ comeback to stun the Warriors in the 2016 Finals. “So our main focus is tonight, our Game 4. Not winning four, but winning Game 4, so that’s all we’re going to focus on.”

Lue said he did not consult Indians manager Terry Francona, who guided the Boston Red Sox back from a 3-0 deficit to win the 2004 AL Championship series.

“I didn’t want to bother him,” Lue said of Francona, who attended Game 3. “He has a lot of things going on as well.”

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7: 50 p.m.

Steve Kerr got asked a light-hearted question before Game 4 of the NBA Finals — and the Golden State coach loved it.

The question was basically this: Would you rather win an NBA championship on Friday night in Cleveland and hear booing from the Cavaliers’ home crowd, or finish off the series in Golden State before happy Warriors fans?

Kerr got a good laugh.

“They both sound awesome,” Kerr said.

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5:40 p.m.

LeBron James, most definitely, does not want to get swept in the NBA Finals for a second time.

But if it happens, at least he’ll be in elite company.

Should Cleveland lose Game 4 of this series Friday night and get swept by Golden State, James would be the fifth player to actually be on the floor for a pair of 4-0 defeats in the NBA Finals. James was on the Cleveland team that lost 4-0 to San Antonio in 2007 as well.

The other four guys to be twice-swept? They’re not bad.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Michael Cooper all played in a pair of swept-out defeats in the finals with the Los Angeles Lakers. James Worthy was on both of those teams — 1983 and 1989 — but didn’t actually play in the first sweep because of injury.

So besides Abdul-Jabbar, Johnson and Cooper, the only other player to appear in two finals sweep losses was Wes Unseld — with the Bullets in 1971 and 1975.

Golden State could hand James his second sweep loss Friday night. The Warriors lead this year’s NBA Finals 3-0.

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9:15 a.m.

If the Golden State Warriors win the NBA championship on Friday night, it’ll mark the earliest start to the offseason in more than three decades.

The last time the NBA Finals ended on or before June 8 was back in 1986, when the Boston Celtics defeated the Houston Rockets in six games. Since then, the earliest any title series has ended was June 12.

That means the Warriors get two chances to bring on an early summer: If they lose Game 4, they’ll play host to Game 5 on June 11.

The NBA season started earlier than the previous norms this year, part of the league’s initiative to add days to the schedule in order to limit back-to-backs and help get players more rest during the 82-game regular season grind. These finals started May 31, just the second time since 1986 that Game 1 wasn’t played in June.

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