NBA Finals Preview

It’s finally here: Cavs vs. Warriors: The Trilogy. After sprinting through their respective conferences, the two sides will meet in the Finals for the third time in a row, but this time, it’s different: both teams are healthy. In 2015, the Cavs were without Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving for the whole series. Last year, Andrew Bogut was injured for the Warriors, and Curry was haunted with a few minor injuries throughout the series. In addition, both teams are going to be rested after making quick work of the conference finals. So, now that it’s here, what’s going to happen?


Team profiles

Golden State Warriors: The Warriors ball movement is second to none. Not just now, but historically, they’re like no other team. It feels like every shot they take is wide open, whether it’s a corner three for Klay Thompson or a lob to Javale McGee. Probably the scariest part of the Warriors offense, is how adaptable their players are. When they’re not moving the ball, Kevin Durant can go ISO and he will score every time. Steph Curry can pull up from anywhere post half court  and hit threes if need be. Even with their insane offense, the calling card for the Warriors is their Defense. Draymond Green is arguably the best defender in the league. Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson are so long on the wings that they make driving lanes difficult for opposing players. As a team they play incredible defense, they can switch almost all the time, and when they need it, they have the players that can play individual man to man defense. They have continuity, experience, home court and revenge on their minds. It’s hard to see them losing four out of seven games, but that’s the beauty of the NBA finals.


X-factor: Zaza Pachulia (and other big men) : Zaza Pachulia will be tasked with stopping Tristan Thompson from vacuuming every rebound in this series. If he and the other bigs can contain Thompson and Love on the glass, then they’ll take away the Cavs biggest strength. The stars will do the heavy lifting on offense, if Pachulia, McGee and West can hang on the boards then they’ll be in great position to win the series.


Cleveland Cavaliers: for this team, it starts and ends with Lebron James. He’s already a top five player of all time, and arguably the best ever. He can do it all. He scores, passes, rebounds, plays defense and is so incredibly dominant. When he’s on the floor with four shooters he’s impossible to stop. If he drives and you double on the drive, he’s such a great passer that he’ll find the open man, if you don’t help and let him attack one on one, he’ll destroy you. And that’s when the Cavs thrive. But the question with this Cavs team was never their offense, but their defense. They didn’t try at all for a large portion of the regular season, and it took them a while to really find themselves in that end. It hasn’t been perfect so far, but it’s been good enough. When they’re engaged, they’re switching we’ll, and their make the rift rotations. They still have lapses where they take their foot off the gas and their defense slips again, and in this series, that just can’t happen. They possess a confidence that no team really shows. They play hard when they free they have something to prove. Even with Lebron, Irving and Love, they may still be overmatched, and they’ll need the rest of the roster to pick up the slack if they want to pull off the upset.


X-factor: Tristan Thompson: he’s still somehow one of the most underrated players in the league. Some even consider him the modern day Dennis Rodman. Tristan Thompson needs to dominate the boards for the Cavs. The Warriors are so efficient offensively, that every rebound he gets offensively, will give the Cavs a chance. Apart from his rebounding, he’ll have to hold his own on defense when forced to switch onto Curry or Durant. For the Cavs to pull off the upset, he’ll have to be tremendous on the glass and good enough with his perimeter defense.


My pick: I was torn when making this decision. They split the regular season series. Both teams have a genuine dislike for the other. Both teams are rested, healthy and loaded with talent. Lebron has won a road game in 27 straight series, and if he wins this series, he’ll be the second best player ever, and on the way to GOAT status. With that said, I’m going with the Warriors, in 7. They’re a well oiled machine on offense, they’re tremendous defensively, and they have two all time scorers. The Cavs will give it their all, Lebron will once again put up monster numbers, Kyrie will once again score at will, but in the end, I see the Warriors coming out on top.

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