CLEVELAND (Ohio) • Mindful of last year's missed chance at a perfect play-off run, the Golden State Warriors expect their toughest National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals challenge from Cleveland this morning (Singapore time) as they chase a series sweep.
Defending champions Golden State will carry a 3-0 lead over the Cavaliers into Game 4 of the best-of-seven title match-up at the Quicken Loans Arena.
"Game 4 is going to be the toughest game we've played in the series, to close it out," Warriors point guard Stephen Curry said.
"We're going to need energy, effort, focus from every guy that (sets) foot on the floor."
The visiting Warriors made an NBA-record 15-0 start to last year's play-offs with three sweeps and a 3-0 lead against the Cavs before suffering their only play-off loss, eventually taking the title in five games.
"We want a different outcome," Warriors guard Shaun Livingston said. "We've never done that in our four years, sweep the finals. It's an incredible opportunity. It's like the game within the game."
Not since San Antonio swept the Cavs in 2007 has there been a whitewash in the NBA Finals.
And no team in NBA history have rallied to win a play-off series after losing the first three games.
"I don't pay attention to the history stuff," Cavaliers guard George Hill said.
"History doesn't mean anything. We made our own bed. Now we've got to dig ourselves out."
Kevin Love recalled Cleveland's Game 4 effort last year with their backs to the wall.
"We hit 24 threes last year in Game 4 and had a really great showing and didn't accept defeat," he said. "That's something this team need to do and continue to be resilient."
Warriors forward Draymond Green recalls the humbling loss with perfection so near.
"A 3-0 lead and we just kind of laid an egg. So we understand that and learn from it," he said.
"I don't think we've put our best game together yet, which is encouraging, because what better time to do that?"
Warriors coach Steve Kerr admitted his side have endured their most difficult season in this campaign, feeling the impact of a fourth consecutive NBA Finals journey.
Golden State have played 82 play-off games over four campaigns so far, the equivalent of an entire regular season, as they bid to join the NBA's top dynasties - the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics - as the only teams to claim three crowns in four years.
"The cumulative effect of multiple journeys adds up, and we have felt that this year," Kerr said.
"I think it has been our most inconsistent season. It has been our most difficult season. But our guys sense the finish line, and they turned it on right from the beginning of the play-offs defensively.
"That's what has been key to get us to this point where we're on the cusp."
CLEVELAND V GOLDEN STATE
Game 4: Singtel TV Ch110, 9am