It’s finally here. The match-up everybody knew that was coming for months is now official, and I’m sure nobody would have it any other way. The Golden State Warriors vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals for a third straight year. The rubber match. The two teams split the last two meetings, but this year’s bout features an enormous new piece, one by the name of Kevin Durant. The question now is will the addition of Durant be enough to stop the Cavaliers from repeating?
The Case For The Warriors
The Warriors got exactly what they wished for. They wanted to go back to the finals, and they didn’t want to meet anyone else there except the Cavaliers. The Warriors are the best team, and they’ve proven it with their undefeated 12-0 mark this postseason. They have dominated every opponent in their way thus far, and it’s easy to see why. They have too much firepower. The Warriors’ shooting ability demoralizes their opponents to the point where it seems like they don’t even want to play anymore. They average 118 points a night and 27 assists, both good enough for best in the playoffs. They are spearheaded by two of the best three players in the world in Durant and Stephen Curry. They have likely Defensive Player of the Year, Draymond Green, anchoring the team’s defense, and maybe the second greatest shooter ever in Klay Thompson. They are arguably the most talented team ever put together. Their case is simple: If the Warriors do what they usually do, they should leave the NBA Finals as champions of the world once again.
The Case For The Cavaliers
This will be the toughest challenge anybody on the Cavaliers roster has ever faced, and it might be the most difficult challenge in NBA history. And like it always does, that burden will rest squarely on the back of one player: LeBron James. For the Cavaliers to have a chance this final, James will have to be at his finest, and luckily for the Cavaliers, that is what we’ve seen out of James this playoffs. We are witnessing James play the best basketball of his career. With averages of 32 points a game, which is good enough for second in the playoffs, eight rebounds, and seven assists, James has led the Cavaliers to a nearly perfect postseason, only suffering one loss so far. James has been the driving force, but that doesn’t mean he’s the team’s only force. His all-star teammates are stepping up at the perfect time; Kyrie Irving has finally started resembling the Kyrie we know and showed the world it when he dropped 42 on Boston, including a 21 point third quarter. Kevin Love has been his best self this postseason with averages of 17 points and 11 rebounds. For the Cavaliers to repeat as champions, James will have to be the best player in this series on both ends of the floor, and Irving will have to outplay Curry once again.
So Who Wins? WhyToby??
This is the Warriors finals to win. They have home court, they have over a week’s worth of rest, and they have the better team. It took the Cavs seven games and an Irving three to beat the Warriors last season, and now they’re back with the second best player in the world. Durant is damn near unstoppable when he wants to be, he’s the most lethal scorer in basketball. That spells disaster for Cleveland, especially because their Achilles heel is their defense.
And I am still rolling with the Cleveland Cavaliers to win the NBA Finals.
I believe the Cavaliers will win this championship because of two main reasons, and the first being LeBron James. In each of the past two finals, James has dominated the Warriors, and I believe that will continue. Nobody on the Warriors can guard him single-handily, and they can’t double him up because of his passing ability. In both finals, James led both team’s in scoring, assists, and rebounding, and I see that happening for a third straight year. If James can dominate this series, that will be enough to at least keep the Cavaliers in it.
The true reason why the Cavaliers will win has nothing to do with James or his teammates, and everything to do with the Warriors and their closing ability. Every star on the Warriors has proven to shrink under pressure, highlighted by each having blown a 3-1 lead. We saw it in the finals last year. The Warriors had three straight opportunities to close the series out, and they failed to do so each time. Curry, the unanimous MVP, looked anything but that in the NBA Finals. For two straight years now, we’ve seen Curry play his worst when the lights are the brightest, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Before Curry and the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead, you know who else did? Kevin Durant.
He blew a 3-1 lead to the very team he now plays for. What that proves is no one on the Warriors has shown the ability to consistently close out big games, and that is what will do them in. Especially because on the Cavaliers are two players in James and more so Irving who have proven it.
So expect a close series, I believe each game this year will go down to the wire. We’re going to see some legendary moments and performances once again. But when the game is on the line, watch what happens. Notice how passive Durant becomes and the types of low quality shots he’ll settle for. Notice how un-Curry like Curry will play; he’ll start turning the ball over and jacking up even more missed threes. But on the other end of the court, notice how James will make sure his team is in it each game. And when the series-winning moment comes along, which I believe will be in game six, James will be the one to ice the series. Securing his fourth championship in front of his hometown.
Cavaliers in SIX
Game 1: Cavs
Game 2: Warriors
Game 3: Cavs
Game 4: Cavs
Game 5: Warriors
Game Six: Cavs
For all my opinions on the NBA Finals and the rest sporting world, follow me on Twitter and debate with me there: @_WhyToby