The NBA finals are here and for the third straight season, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors will battle for NBA Title. The latest matchup in their historic trio of Finals will need to something special to top last season’s exceptional comeback for Cleveland, reversing a 3-1 deficit to win in 7 games, in Golden State at the death.Embed from Getty Images
The Warriors have home court advantage like they did last season as they finished off the greatest regular season of all time with the greatest collapse of all time. The Warriors do have something new in this finals, however. Kevin Durant.Embed from Getty Images
KD’s free agency acquisition is one of the most controversial deals in the history of the NBA, with many fans incredibly angry that he would leave the team who drafted him for a major rival to create a super team. If the Warriors are able to win the title for the second time in three years, the year’s worth of abuse will have been worth it. IF they fail, then larger questions will be put at the door of the organisation.
The Cavs have made a number of roster changes since their title-winning but return with the same core as 12 months ago, lead by the player many are realising is the greatest of all time. LeBron James. In season 14 James is chasing his fourth ring in his 7th straight final, and his second with his hometown club. James will once again lead the way as he chases Jordan’s six rings flanked by Kyrie Irving, Kevin Lowe and J.R. Smith.
The route to the final for both sides have been similar. The Warriors have made history once again going 12-0 in through the playoffs laying waste to the west. In the first round the Warriors got by Portland in four games, a strong Utah Jazz in four games and the San Antonio Spurs in four including a 25 point comeback in game one after Zaza Pachulia injured Kawhi Leonard. The Spurs series looked like it would be a good litmus test for the Warriors, but after the Leonard injury, the games were simple enough, able to score at leat 120 points in the final three games of the series.
The Cavs were all set for a 12-0 run before they ran into the Boston Celtics, who battled back in game three to ruin the Cav’s perfect record as James struggled to 11 points amid reports he was sick. The first two rounds for the Cavs were simple for them to get through, 4-0 wins over the Pacers and the Raptors the Cavs faced their stiffest competition against the one seed Celtics, but had more than enough to get by them in five.Embed from Getty Images
The finals are rightly built around the two alphas going at it again. James is leading the Cavs in scoring averaging 32.5 points per game from .566 percent shooting. James plays effectively as the Cavs’ point guard leading with 7 assists per game and grabbing 8 boards. Steph Curry, the two-time league MVP is alleged to be having a slower year, but he’s still the Warriors’ MVP. Curry leads the side in scoring throughout the playoffs averaging 28.6 points per game, adding 5.6 assists and 5.5 rebounds, as the point guard sets his eyes on returning to the top of the NBA.
Everything changed in Game 5 of the 2016 #NBAFinals…
A look back at the beginning of a historical 3-1 comeback by the @cavs. #GameTime pic.twitter.com/Keo0oMQVBr
— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 30, 2017
Draymond Green will be a vital player once again for the Warriors, on both ends of the floor. Green is a defensive monster, averaging over 2 blocks and just under 2 steals per game in the playoffs, along with 13.9 points, 7.2 assists and 8.7 rebounds at .50 percent shooting. Green missed a pivotal game 5 in last season’s playoffs after accruing a fourth technical foul for punching James in the gentleman region. The Cavs would win game 5 and go on to victory in both game 6 and 7 to take the NBA title. The Warriors have accepted that this is part of Green’s play but will be hoping that he avoids a repeat in this series.Embed from Getty Images
Kyrie Irving had a huge series 12 months ago and will be leant on heavily by his team to see the Cavs to victory, as will Kevin Lowe. The big three will have to face down the big four of the Warrior (Klay Thompson, KD, Curry and Green) and will all need to perform if they hope to win against a Warriors on a revenge mission and crusade to a 16-0 perfect playoff run.
This is a series too close to call. Both sides will feel they have the edge over the other, in truth they’re about as evenly matched as any matchup in Finals history. It is hard to see the series not going a full 7 games, with either side equally capable of coming away with the title.
For me, I can’t look past the LeBron factor. He is on a one-man war on Jordan’s 6 rings, and to be recognised as the G.O.A.T. Cavs edge it in 7.