NBA Finals Preview: Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Golden State Warriors will look to repeat as NBA champions. Standing in the Warriors way will be a familiar foe in the Cleveland Cavaliers. This is the NBA Finals rematch almost everyone saw coming.
The Cavaliers steamrolled through the Eastern Conference, while the defending champs had to climb out of a 3-1 series hold against the Oklahoma City Thunder to return to the NBA Finals.
Last season, the Warriors won the NBA championship with a 4-2 series victory over the short-handed Cavaliers team. This time around, both teams are at full strength. Revenge is as strong a motive as any to fuel a championship run. The Cavaliers are healthier, the defending champion Warriors are better, but the stakes are the same.
The Cavaliers have been patiently waiting for this rematch. The Cavaliers pretty much used their entire playoff run to get ready for the Warriors. They experimented different lineups, perfected their three point shot and ball movement. That’s the luxury of playing in the Eastern Conference.
LeBron James will be playing in his sixth straight NBA Finals. For the first time since LeBron’s 2007 appearance, he and the Cavaliers will be flying in under the radar. J.R. Smith has become a model citizen in Cleveland and his production in the playoffs reflect that. Same can be said for the resurgence of Kevin Love.
The Heart of a Champion
The Warriors became the 10th team to rally from a 3-1 deficit and win a postseason series. The Warriors were outplayed for most of the Western Conference Finals, but executed down the stretch when they needed to most.
Down 3-1, the Warriors never lost their confidence. The two-time MVP showed the Thunder exactly why he is the league’s MVP. Klay Thompson had an iconic game six performance that will be talked about for years to come, similar to Micheal Jordan’s flu game.
The Warriors came into this season looking for respect from the league. After setting the greatest regular season record (73-9), the Warriors are looking to end this season the same way they did last year — with a World Championship.
Cavaliers’ Time Could Be Now
The Cleveland Cavaliers are desperately trying to bring the city to their first championship. The No. 1 job for the Cavaliers will be to find a way to slow down the splash brothers. Klay Thompson and Steph Curry will be a handfull for Kyrie Irving and J.R. Smith. The Warriors set a Western Conference Finals record with 90 made three pointers.
Having only played 18 playoff games this season, the Cavaliers have fresher legs than the Warriors. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are capable of matching the Warriors shot-for-shot. LeBron James is a workhorse and can be used to defend either Klay or Steph at any given time.
The Cavaliers’ big men could play a more vital role in this series. The Thunder may have laid out a blueprint on how to beat the Warriors with a big lineup. LeBron James will command a lot of attention, which would free up Tristian Thompson and Kevin Love to do damage inside the post.
Being physical with the Warriors will be the second most important job for the Cavaliers to do. The Thunder were very physical throughout the series with the Warriors, mental toughness did the Thunder dirty down the stretch.
How the Warriors Can Repeat as Champs
The Warriors are the best offensive team in the league. Scoring against the Cavs will not be a problem. The Warriors are scoring 117 points per 100 possessions. That’s an insane stat line. Golden State threw several players at LeBron James last NBA Finals. Expect the Warriors to do pretty much the same thing this time around.
Kyrie Irving isn’t a defensive stopper, so expect the Warriors’ guards to run circles around Irving. The Warriors’ big men will need to step up in this series. Draymond Green will have to keep Tristian Thompson on the boards. Andrew Bogut still brings the heat as a paint protector and could help out in the paint, especially when LeBron makes his move to the hole.
If we learned anything from the Western Conference Finals, you have to play flawless for 48 minutes to beat the Warriors. That is something many teams just simply can’t do.
With a fully healthy Cleveland roster and a full year to prepare for this series, expect a desperate and focused Cavalier team look to steal game 1. If the Cavaliers don’t win one of the first two games , they will be in huge trouble. The best thing that could of happened to the Warriors was having their backs to the wall in the last series. T
he Warriors will not lose another home game again this season. Look for the Golden State Warriors to cap off their 73 win season, with another NBA Championship.
Warriors in 7.
This will be an NBA Finals for the ages.
(NBA Finals Preview) (NBA Finals Preview)