The stage has been set; the Cleveland Cavaliers will face the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. This is without a doubt the matchup everyone wanted to see and the one that the NBA league office(s) were rooting for. The two most hyped teams throughout these playoffs are going meet and it has a good chance of going down as one of the best Finals in recent memory.
Lebron James and the Cavs are going into the Finals as the underdogs; although they did dispatch the number one seeded Atlanta Hawks in four games. However, given all that injuries have unfortunately plagued them throughout the playoffs; and the health of Kyrie Irving will have a huge impact on the outcome of this series. If healthy, Irving could provide a significant offensive spark, not to mention a difficult matchup for Warriors point guard, Steph Curry.
James’ contributions throughout the playoffs have superb although he hasn’t been nearly as efficient as he’s been in years past. He’s shooting well under 50% from the field and has played more of an isolation type of offense, something we haven’t seen since his last run in Cleveland five years ago. There’s no denying that he’s going to be the best player on the floor in every game, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s going to be able to carry them to a championship. Now, he’s done an excellent job so far this postseason, but this team has yet to face a team as talented as the Warriors.
NBA MVP Steph Curry and the Warriors have been the hottest team in the league all season and are the clear favorites to win the title. Besides Curry, they’re surrounded with talent at every position. Their bench depth has been a key to their success with players like Iguodala and Barbosa helping them all season long. The only real concern for them heading into this matchup is the health of Clay Thompson following the concussion he suffered in game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. If he can come into the series healthy, the Warriors have an excellent shot a winning the title.
The big advantage that the Warriors have over the Cavs is coaching. Steve Kerr (who should’ve won Coach of the Year) has been tremendous as a first year head coach and has silenced all the doubters. He’s made a really talented team arguably one of the greatest offensive shows we’ve ever seen. He’s also coached this team up to being the best defensive team in the league; which has been overshadowed given their offensive output.
David Blatt has done a great job with the Cavs as well, but the question all season has been; who’s really coaching this team? There have been plenty of pundits/analysts who believe the James has been the real coach and Blatt has just been along for the ride. The [almost] crucial mistake of calling a timeout (when they didn’t have one) in a pivotal game 4 has left many to believe that Blatt is in way over his head and might be fired at the end of the season. Again, he’s first year head coach [like Kerr] and has coached his team to the NBA Finals, so I’m not trying to take anything away from his accomplishments. However, with that being said, I just don’t think he has shown to have the mental makeup and basketball prowess that Kerr has shown so far in his career.
I believe the Warriors are the better team with a superior coach and will beat the Cavs in 5 games. While James is the best player in the world, he’s going up against the league MVP and one of the best rosters in the NBA. Even with a relatively healthy Kyrie Irving, I just don’t think the Cavs have what it takes to beat the Warriors over a 7 game series. Leading up to these finals, the Warriors have had tougher matchups which I think have tested their resolve in a way that the Cavs haven’t been tested.
So in closing, I have the Warriors in 5 and Steph Curry will be named Finals MVP.