(AP) — The first one deserved a sequel, which Cleveland won in the biggest comeback in NBA Finals history to even things up with Golden State.

Then with Kevin Durant joining Stephen Curry on one side and LeBron James leading the other, the Warriors and Cavaliers sent interest soaring as they rampaged toward the tiebreaker last season.

But the rubber match was a mismatch, and the Warriors are expected to win just as easily this time.

So as Round 4 of the record-setting rivalry begins Thursday night, has Warriors-Cavaliers become too much of a good thing?

"I don't think so," Golden State guard Klay Thompson said. "I think the rest of the NBA has got to get better. It's not our fault."

It's the first time in NBA, NFL, MLB or NHL history that the same teams are meeting four straight times in the championship round, and intrigue in the teams hasn't waned yet. The NBA had its most-watched conference finals since 2012, as both teams had to rally from 3-2 deficits to win Game 7s on the road.

But if this series quickly becomes as lopsided as some fear — ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy said he couldn't remember a bigger gap between finals teams and said any game the Cavs win is a huge upset — many of those people who have tuned in the last few years might be looking for something else to watch by the time the series switches to Cleveland.

The players won't apologize for showing up again, or worry that it hurts the NBA.

"I mean, it may not be as suspenseful as a lot of people want it to be or as drama-filled," Durant said, "but that's what you've got movies and music for."

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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