Cavs, Warriors NBA Finals Preview and Prediction. By: Peter Snyder

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20161001-recap-1280Milwaukee Bucks v Cleveland Cavaliers

Here it is, the moment we have all been waiting for. The NBA finals are finally here and it is sure to be a doozy. Every single characteristic about this series screams sexy. Whether it is the stellar head-to-head matchups like Curry vs. Irving or KD vs. Lebron, or if it’s the intensity that is building within this rivalry as this is the third finals appearance in a row between these two, this on paper is the best finals that our generation has seen. Is it too much hype though, are the expectations set too high just to be let down? I don’t think so. I think this one is going to go back and forth and I think its going seven. I mean it’s inevitable. How can it not be? These two teams have dominated their way through the playoffs  and it is going to be a matchup of Goliath vs. Goliath. When two powerful forces go at each other at high speed, something is bound to break. It’s the same scenario here. The Cavs and Warriors are both freight trains and someone is bound to go down.

How They Got Here:

Both teams were not even close to being tested during these NBA Playoffs. The Warriors made NBA history as the first team to ever go 12-0 entering the finals. Their road started against the Portland Trailblazers and honestly, they would have had just a good of chance winning if they were blindfolded. They just got totally dominated by talent and the Warriors went on to an easy 4 game sweep. It was then on to face a young, talented Jazz team  led by incoming superstar Gordan Heyward. I actually thought this could be somewhat of a series but boy was I wrong. Once again, the Warriors just were flat-out better in every aspect of the word. It was then on to the Western Conference Finals where they would face a strong Spurs team that many thought would put up a legitimate fight. In game one, it looked like they were going to do just that. With a 21 point lead in game one on the road, it looked like San Antonio was well on their way to making a legit statement. Then the unimaginable happened. San Antonio superstar, Kawai Lenord left the game with an ankle injury. In the blink of an eye, the lead had vanished and the game slipped away from their hands. Golden State took  game one but it was clear that if Kawai was healthy this would be a series. Well, it wasn’t. He failed to play in the rest of the series and without their star, the Spurs had no chance. Once again, the Warriors went on to sweep and clinched their finals ticket for the third straight year. Without being touched on their way to this point, it will be interesting to see how the Warriors will face adversity.

The Cavs had a very similar path. They came in as a 2  seed but it was clear that they were the team to beat in the East. Lebron was trying to reach his 7th straight NBA finals, a feat only accomplished by a special few. Their journey would begin with a matchup against the Indiana Pacers. Where most games were close, the Cavs closed better and went on to an easy opening series sweep. It was then onto the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals where the Cavs would face the Toronto Raptors, a  rematch of last year’s ECF. This series got ugly fast. The King dominated, Kyrie owned Kyle and Kevin Love was too much to handle for any defender. The Cavs improved to 8-0 in the playoffs with another series sweep. It was then their turn to prove why the Celtics having a 1 seed was an absolute joke and they did just that. In the first two games on the road, the Cavs outscored the Celtics 247 to 190. They embarrassed the Celtics on their home court and honestly you could tell after the first quarter in game 1 that the series was over. Remarkably, the Celtics managed to steal game 3 on a game winning shot by Avery Bradley. Then the Cavs put their foot on the Celtic’s throat,  winning game 4 thanks to a scoring clinic put on by Kyrie Irving, and then once again, blowing the Celtics out on the road. In game 5, Lebron passed Michael Jordan for the all time playoff scoring leader, an accolade that only a king could accomplish. The Cavs won the series 4-1 but in many ways it felt like a sweep. Lebron had done it. He had clinched his 7th straight appearance to the NBA finals and now it is time for him to capitalize.

Players to watch:

Kevin Durant– KD left OKC last year for one main purpose; to win a ring. He is now one step away from doing just that. He is also  looking to get revenge as Kevin fell to  Lebron in the  2012 finals. Kevin Durant is the ultimate five tool layer and it is literally hard to find a flaw in this kid’s game. It will be interesting to see how he performs in this year’s finals and if he will prove why he is one of the best players in the league.

Steph Curry– You all know him by now, the baby-faced assassin has established himself ver the past few years as one of the purest shooters in NBA history, With his unique ability to handle the ball, and having a limitless range, Steph has quickly become a superstar in this league, It will be fun to watch how he matches up with Kyrie Irving because I can guarantee you that will be a crucial matchup.

Klay Thompson– Klay Thompson is a knock down spot up shooter who is a very underrated defensive player. He can easily get you 20 a game as he is averaging 22.3 points per game and should also add a few assists. Klay is one of those guys that can not be left open because he will make you pay and it will be interesting to see how the Cavaliers will try to contain him.

Draymond Green– The ball kicker is back in yet another NBA Finals and is looking to use his hostility to his advantage. Listen, I don’t like Draymond Green; I think his attitude is poor. I think he’s a dirty player and I think he is overall, a shitty individual. That being said, the dude can play the game of basketball well and you have to respect that. He is a force to be reckoned with in the paint and has the ability to go off on any given night.

Kyrie Irving Kyrie Irving is a superstar and there’s no if, ands or buts about it. His uncanny ability to score the ball along with his stealthy ball handling skills is a thing of sheer beauty. If I had the choice to take one PG in the NBA to start a franchise with, the choice would be Kyrie without even having to think about it. The reason I give the edge to him over Steph Curry is his defensive capabilities. He is an extraordinary defender and Steph is flat-out mediocre; that’s what puts Kyrie on a whole different level. I think he will dominate these finals and average 28 and 9 without breaking a sweat.

Tristan Thompson– Tristan Thompson is on the list for one reason and one reason only, his dominance on the offensive glass. Tristan Thompson is one of the best rebounders in the league, especially on the offensive side. If the Warriors do not find a way to limit him on the boards, he will bring them absolute fits.

Kevin Love – Kevin Love is playing vintage K- love basketball and I love it. He is fully healthy entering the finals for the first time and is playing better basketball than he ever has in his career. He has been a problem for teams on the glass, the 3, the paint, outside shooting; pretty much everything. Kevin needs to keep up the way he is playing if the Cavs want any chance of winning this series. He is going to be a key piece of this series and will have a big part in the outcome.

Lebron James – If he hasn’t already, Lebron is asserting himself as the best to ever play the game of basketball. The king is the new playoff scoring leader, is playing in his 7th straight NBA finals and is showing no signs of slowing down. Lebron has had  34 playoff games in the playoffs where he had led his team in points, assists and rebounds. To compare how impressive that actually is, the second player in the history of basketball to achieve that stat is Larry Bird with 13. THIRTEEN, are you kidding me? Like Lebron, you can argue with me all you want about who is the best player of all time but I think one thing is clear; Lebron James is the greatest playoff basketball performer of all time. I’m not saying strictly finals but overall playoffs Lebron is just clearly the G.O.A.T.  If Lebron James plays Lebron James basketball, they win the finals, it’s as simple as that. At his best, he is better than any other player that will step on that court. I think he will have the biggest and best NBA Finals he has ever had.

Prediction:

I like the Cavs in 7. I think these teams are as evenly matched as they come but there are a few deciding factors that I think give the Cavs a slight edge. For starters, the Cavaliers are a better defensive team than the Warriors and you know what they say, defense wins championships. Secondly, the Cavs are just a tiny bit better in the paint. I think Tristan Thompson is gong to be a big factor on the offensive and defensive glass and that will be a big problem for the Warriors. And finally, the main reason that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win the NBA Finals is because they have one thing that the Warriors do not have; a king. And the king will be crowned.

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