2015-’16 NBA Finals Preview: The Rematch

Once again it is the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers meeting in the NBA finals for rematch of last years six game battle. Does this matchup really surprise anyone; from the start of the season it was obvious the Warriors weren’t going to sit back and take the year off after being crowned World Champs. And most could see that a determined LeBron and the Cavs weren’t going to be barred from another Finals appearance. The only question at this point is, who’s taking home the title this time?

Neither of these teams has had an easy route back to the finals, as their Conference Championships sufficiently tested them. Cleveland was taken six games by a Raptor team no one expected would even sneak one win out; Golden State on the other hand, was brought to game seven by two superstars and some solid role players in the Thunder. Regardless, both teams are back in the Finals and I have a good feeling about this series. With both teams at full strength, unlike last years battle, this series has the potential to be a classic.

Overall: Reigning MVP Steph Curry has dethroned King James from atop the  NBA with his phenomenal play in the last two years elevating his team and teammates to neKyrie v Klayw levels of greatness. But is LeBron ready to embrace this role as second fiddle? Based on his performance this postseason, I say absolutely not. James and the Cavaliers have won the East and look hungry for revenge for last years six game bounce out of the Finals; don’t Golden State to back down. In my opinion, the reason the Warriors are back in the Finals is because of one man, and his name doesn’t rhyme with Def Blurry. Klay Thompson saved the Warriors from elimination in game six against the Thunder with his heroic shooting performance, including a playoff record 11 three pointers, and never give up attitude. If Thompson continues to take control of the Warrior offense Curry can elevate his game as he did in earlier rounds, it will be hard for the Cavaliers to stop this explosive duo. But I don’t think it will be impossible. If it comes down to it, I believe LeBron will take a crack at shutting down Thompson while Kyrie clamps up on Curry, and unless someone else on the Warriors can step up offensively, this could be disastrous for the Dubs. For Cleveland, if they can effectively slow down Curry and Thompson while simultaneously locking up the paint with some bigs down low, their only concern will be finding efficient offense. Against the Raptors, the Cavs continued to create open looks for each other, but they failed to hit these open shots. This cannot be the case in the Finals if they hope to go far against an elite team like Golden State who thrives off of transition threes after missed looks and defensive boards.

Side Notes:

  • I expect Harrison Barnes to have a big series for GSW.
  •  I think Kyrie’s defense will be crucial this series.
  • Draymond Green is going to have a couple of bounce back games.
  • J.R. Swish is going to need to show up for the Cavs this Finals go round.
  • Iguodala’s defense is going to be a necessity for the Warriors.

Prediction: Cleveland Cavaliers in six games. Yep, you read that correctly, I said six. Curry v LBJ

 

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