Toucher & Rich

BOSTON (CBS) – The long-awaited, highly-anticipated NBA Finals starts Thursday night in Oakland at Oracle Arena, where the Golden State Warriors will host the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1.

According to the oddsmakers in Vegas, the Warriors are heavy favorites over the Cavs, which means LeBron James is at risk of falling to 2-4 in the Finals.

98.5 The Sports Hub’s Sean Grande, the radio voice of the Boston Celtics, appeared in studio yesterday on Felger & Massarotti and predicted a Golden State series win, calling them a “special team” that is one of the top three he’s seen since he started covering the league 17 years ago.

On Thursday morning, Grande called Toucher & Rich for an additional series preview. The C’s broadcaster likens this Cavaliers team to the 2008 version.

“I think it’s a fascinating matchup, and in some ways we saw it in 2008 when LeBron somehow got a team without a great supporting cast to the final minutes of Game 7 against one of the great teams of the era: the Celtics of ’08,” Grande said. “This would be far and away LeBron’s biggest accomplishment if he could pull this off.”

Grande notes that, while Cleveland is playing excellent on the defensive end during this playoff run, beating Boston, Chicago and Atlanta is nowhere near as difficult as the path Golden State took.

Rich Shertenlieb can’t help but feel like LeBron, who has cited on numerous occasions all the injuries he’s playing through, is just creating excuses ahead of time in order to soften the blow for when his team eventually can’t get it done.

Grande countered Rich’s take, adding that LeBron has maintained realistic expectations all season long. Besides, there’s nothing he can do at this point to change people’s opinions of him.

“People have made up their mind on where they stand on him, and you see him through a certain prism,” Grande said. “I’ll say it again, if somehow the Cavaliers win this series, it’s going to force even the staunchest LeBron haters to step back and say, ‘Woah. Maybe we have to re-think this a little bit.'”

Listen below for the full Finals preview!

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