Warriors in 4
Here we go for the fourth straight year, the Golden State Warriors facing the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. There is nothing worse than summer reruns. The NBA has a history of being stuck in a rut as the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers met numerous times in the 60s and 80s. This is different; the Warriors are loaded coming out of a tough Western Conference, while LeBron dragged 11 stiffs through a mediocre Eastern Conference.
The Warriors did not finish with the best record in the NBA this season, as they lost that title to the Rockets. In the playoffs, Golden State has had the look of a defending champion, as they rolled over the Spurs and Pelicans in five games. There only real challenge came in the Western Conference Finals when they fell behind the Rockets 3-2 after five games. However, that had more to do with poor play in the fourth quarter of both Games 4 and 5. The Warriors did get some help when Houston lost Chris Paul, and slow starts in Game 6 and 7 nearly proved their undoing but when the game was on the line the Warriors’ backcourt led by Stephen Curry did what was necessary to get back to the NBA Finals.
One man may not be an island, but he can be a team as LeBron James has single handily taken the Cleveland Cavaliers back to the NBA Finals. The numbers are simply stunning, as LeBron has averaged 34 points per game in the playoffs. The Cavaliers second-leading scorer Kevin Love has posted 13.9 ppg, while nobody on the rest of the team is averaging double digits. The Cavs had a tough time winning 50 games and nearly lost in the first round against the Pacers, as they needed a buzzer beater by LeBron in Game 5 and 45 points in Game 7. The Cavaliers did sweep the Shrinky Dink Raptors in the second round but again had their struggles against the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. For most of the series the Cavs were outplayed by Boston, but in Game 7 the Celtics missing their two top players, finally showed their youth as they went cold from the beyond the three point line. Meanwhile, King James scored 35 points with 15 rebound and nine assists to lead the Cavs back to the NBA Finals.
Like Sharknado, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors has become a yearly event. The first one was good, the second meeting was a classic, but last year was a mismatch and this year it looks even worse as you say why are doing this again? we have seen this already, please stop let’s do something else. Words cannot express the greatness of LeBron James’ postseason as he is averaging 34 points per game, 9.2 rebounds per game and 8.8 assists per game. The rest of his team other than Kevin Love would have a tough time cracking the Warriors roster. Take LeBron away and the Cavaliers are a 50-loss team. They benefited from a weakened Eastern Conference just to get here, as the Celtics sorely missed Kyrie Irving in Game 7, while the Raptors are still cowering in the corner. The Warriors can have anybody step up in any game as Kevin Durant has led the team with 29 points per game, while after missing the first half of the playoffs Stephen Curry began to find his range against Houston, getting his average up to 24.8 ppg.
When the Cavaliers won the NBA Finals in 2016 it was Kyrie Irving who made the big shots at the end. Irving was missed by the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals and now the Cavaliers will long for him in the NBA Finals. The Warriors backcourt will dominate this series, the Cavaliers backcourt has been nothing short of a disaster, especially J.R. Smith who has been downright dreadful at times in the playoffs, including a game when he was held scoreless in Boston. The Warriors can smell blood, and hate Cleveland as familiarity breathes contempt. Dragging the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals is one thing, winning is another. At the end of Game 7 in Boston, LeBron appeared to be gassed as he sat on the floor waiting for the trophy presentation. If the Cavaliers were to have a chance LeBron will need to be better than he has ever been before, not even 34 points per game will save him. Look for the Warriors to go out looking to send a message and looking to embarrass LeBron. However, nothing should embarrass LeBron a sweep will certainly sting and this series smells like a sweep.