Once again, for the third time in a row, the NBA Finals will be between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. The Cavaliers won it all last year, four games to three, and the Warriors won it the year prior, four games to two. What’s changed from the previous years? How’d they get to the finals? Let’s take a look.
Golden State Warriors
The powerhouse from the West, the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors made a splash last offseason, and it wasn’t the ‘Splash Brothers’ duo of Stef Curry and Klay Thompson. The Warriors convinced the all-star small forward Kevin Durant to bring his talents to California. The team has been no less than dominant, completing obliterating each opponent they play. Let’s look at the stats behind the Warriors.
Regular Season Record: 67-15, First Place in the West
PG: Stef Curry (25.3 PPG)
SG: Klay Thompson (22.3 PPG)
SF: Kevin Durant (25.1 PPG)
PF: Draymond Green (10.2 PPG)
C: Zaza Pachulia (6.1 PPG)
Coach: Steve Kerr, (Mike Brown while Steve Kerr is out)
As you can see, the Warriors are absolutely stacked with a star-studded starting lineup. And with great bench players as well (Andre Iguodala, Matt Barnes, Shaun Livingston, JaVale McGee, etc.) the team is in the Finals for the third time in a row for a reason. Let’s take a look at how they got to the NBA Finals.
2017 Playoff Record (12 – 0)
First Round: Portland Trailblazers (4-0)
Western Semi-Final: Utah Jazz (4-0)
Western Conference Final: San Antonio Spurs (4-0)
NBA Final: Cleveland Cavaliers (?)
Can Golden State become the first team in NBA history and completely sweep every team in the Playoffs? Or will LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers fight back and become back-to-back NBA Champions? Before we answer this, we have to take a look at the Beast from the East.
Dubbed the ‘Monstars’ in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Beast from the East is the Cleveland Cavaliers. The team has completely dominated the East, but still receives criticism and hate, as people see the Eastern Conference as weak and nothing in comparison to the Western Conference. With the Cavaliers returning to the Finals for the third time in a row (7th time for LeBron, who used to be on Miami Heat), can they prove the haters wrong and beat the Warriors? Let’s take a look at the starting line-up.
Regular Season Record: 51-31, Second Place in the East
PG: Kyrie Irving (25.2 PPG)
SG: J.R. Smith (8.6 PPG)
SF: LeBron James (26.4 PPG)
PF: Kevin Love (19.0 PPG)
C: Tristan Thompson (8.1 PPG)
Coach: Tyronn Lue
The Cavaliers made a smaller splash than Golden State signing Kevin Durant, but it is still an amazing fit for Cleveland. They traded for sharp shooter Kyle Korver, a knock down three-point shooter from Atlanta. Also coming off the bench for the Cav’s is Deron Williams, Derrick Williams, and Iman Shumpert. There is zero question on why or how they are the best in the East with the line-up they have. Let’s see how they got to the Finals.
2017 Playoff Record (12-1)
First Round: Indiana Pacers (4-0)
Eastern Semi-Final: Toronto Raptors (4-0)
Eastern Conference Final: Boston Celtics (4-1)
NBA Final: Golden State Warriors (?)
Besides dropping one game to the number one seeded Boston Celtics, they have been perfect. Kyrie Irving and LeBron James have taken their game to another level and have been simply unstoppable. Cleveland will have moment after just beating Boston, and will have the motivation to be back-to-back champions. Can they take on the Dream Team in Oakland?
I’m sorry, but I just can’t imagine anyone taking down the Warriors. They are unbeatable. They were good last season, and with the acquisition of Kevin Durant, they are unbeatable. The way the Cav’s play D is they focus on one player rather than the whole team. That won’t fly against Golden State, as everyone on the roster is a threat. If LeBron has a bad game, like in game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the whole team crumbles and can’t perform. My prediction is Golden State takes it in six games. It will be an interesting series to watch, but this being the third year in a row with both teams in the Finals, it has the potential to be extremely dull.