First, may we all have a polite golf clap for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Even though they lost 3 straight games when up 3-1 it was against the historically great Golden State Warriors, and nobody honestly expected coming into the postseason that they’d stand a chance. However, now that the Finals are upon us, it’s time to forget the past and focus on this upcoming rematch between the top teams from each conference. The Warriors, a 73-win juggernaut lead by a baby-faced assassin, and the Cavaliers, lead by 6 straight Finals participant/player-coach/overall beast LeBron James. This is a tough series to predict, you might think, “the Warriors are the best regular season team ever, you have to pick them to win!” But, they just went through an incredibly tough series that exposed a few of their weaknesses. Plus, while the Warriors are a dominant 3-point shooting team, the Cavs are actually leading the playoffs in 3 point attempts per game (34.6), and percentage made (43.4). This is going to be a good old fashioned shoot out.
Key Matchup: Stephen Curry vs. Kyrie Irving
- Kyrie will have to show up on both ends to give the Cavs a shot at winning a championship. He’s shown us his defensive abilities at the 2014 FIBA World Cup where he was named the tournament MVP. Irving is known for his offensive prowess, but matching up against the back-to-back league MVP on offence is a tough task for almost anyone. We all know that Steph will continue to make video game level shots, but if Kyrie can annoy him defensively and tighten the gap of this matchup then anything can happen.
Things to consider when watching:
- Is Andre Igoudala going to have enough energy to slow down LeBron James after chasing Durant around for 7 games?
- Which J.R. Smith shows up, the guy who plays through the offence and knocks down his open 3’s? Or the guy who will think whatever Klay can do, I can do?
- Will Kevin Love play in the final minutes of fourth quarters? Will the Cavs gamble on the defensive end in order to have him space the floor offensively?
- How many dirty plays will Matthew Dellavadova pull throughout this series?
- Which is a bigger disappointment; Curry and the Warriors losing after a 73 win season, or LeBron losing his 5th NBA Finals?
Prediction: Warriors in 7
- LeBron has a lot more help this time. But is that for the better or worse? Last year they had to play slowly in an attempt to disrupt the Warriors offensive flow, but now with Kyrie and Love healthy, their best offence is also quite fast. While their offensive numbers are way up, they haven’t faced a team anything like these Warriors on the East side of the bracket. I want to pick the Warriors in 5, but after the slugfest they just went through I have to favour the home team in each matchup. There will be that Kyrie explosion game, along with a poor shooting night from Steph, or Klay, or both. As much as I’d like to see LeBron’s legacy not get tarnished, and have him win one for the Land, I can’t see the greatest regular season team ever lose this one. This could be the start of a dominant, new-era, 3-point shooting dynasty. All I ask is for Durant not to join them. Please.