Here we are. The end of the season ending in a way one could only hope for, a deciding game seven of the NBA finals. I like to think most of us saw these two teams meeting up again for a Finals rematch this year, but if you can honestly say you believed the Cavs would go down three games to one, then rattle off two straight wins and tie things up, I’d call you a liar…or crazy. Yet here we are, hours away from crowning the next kings of the NBA and quite honestly, the game is a toss up at this point. With the series equal, who will reign supreme over the NBA after tonight?
Golden State Warriors: After two straight losses in games that would have closed out the series, including a rough game six debacle in which Curry’s frustration was on full display, it would seem the Dubs are cracking. I say they aren’t. Every team this postseason has shown lapses in their play, but the difference between the teams sitting at home and those playing tonight is an ability to rise to the occasion. And while two straight losses may be frustrating and scary, Golden State has shown time and time again this season and postseason that they can not only rise to any occasion, but can soar above their competition as well. I believe in Steph Curry’s ability, and though he hasn’t been consistent this series, he is fully aware of the magnitude of this game and I expect him to do his absolute best to control the tempo of tonight’s game. Klay Thompson saved the Warriors season once, based solely on that Mamba-esque performance against OKC in game six, I believe Thompson needs to take over at an efficient and unselfish rate if he wants to play savior once more before the lights go out on Golden States historic year. Draymond Green began this series at a phenomenal rate, but has since slowed down partially due to his self destructive actions and reactions; I think that if Green can put the needs of his team on his shoulders tonight, whether that be getting assists or grabbing boards, he will be invaluable tonight. At the start of this series I said Harrison Barnes will be an X-factor for the Dubs, tonight, this former Tar Heel will need to play like its his last game on both sides of the floor. The Golden State bench has been elite all year long, led by a late blooming Shaun Livingston, the few who get off the bench tonight will need to prioritize defense and forcing turnovers, then allow their starters to put up points. The Warriors are fighting to become the best team in history and finish off their regular season record of 73-9 with a championship trophy; to quote the great Ron Harper “It don’t mean a thing without the ring.”
Cleveland Cavaliers: Coming off of two straight monstrous wins against the defending champions of the world, the Cavaliers undoubtedly have not only the momentum in this series, but confidence as well. I just hope they aren’t over-confident. Lets be honest, if LeBron James and Kyrie Irving both don’t drop 40 pieces on Monday, they wouldn’t even be in this position. Game five was a display of pure survival by the two best players on Cleveland, but game six was something else from the King in Cleveland. James’ otherworldly back to back 41 point games, including a combined 24 rebounds and 18 assists, was a masterpiece. It is clear James knows that he only has so many more finals appearances in him, and if he wants that elusive third ring, he is going to have to play like he has all series (averaging 30 points, 11 rebounds, 8.5 assists, nearly three blocks,and 2 steals) which won’t be easy. Kyrie Irving has never played in a game seven in his career, but with a team full of veteran leaders and a lot of confidence, if Irving just stays composed and remains aggressive attacking the basket and Curry, he will continue to help Cleveland thrive. Kevin Love is averaging a lowly eight points and five rebounds against GSW this series as the Warriors defense and Draymond Green have cancelled out many aspects of Love’s game. I still believe Love is a great player, but I also fear that if he tries to take over the game tonight to make up for his overall weak play, he will damage the Cavs momentum. So long as Love plays to his strengths and role, I think he will have a respectable game. Tristan Thompson seems to be a guy who just shines in the Finals; last year Thompson was the second best player on the injured Cavs team, and this year he seems to be picking up where he left off. Averaging a double-double this series with points and boards, Thompson has played strong and controlled, and will need to play like such for one more game if he hopes to help his team to the promise land. Cleveland’s bench has outplayed Golden State’s the last two games and simply put, will have to continue to if they want to win tonight. The Cavaliers have equalized the series but still needs to close it out and bring home glory to not only themselves, but their city as well.
There’s no Game eights, this is it. Should be a wild ride.
- I think we are all going to see just how good of a player J.R. Swish is tonight.
- Curry’s dropping 23 at least.
- Klay may outplay his “Splash brother” tonight.
- Richard Jefferson needs to see the floor for at least 2o minutes tonight.
- Iguodala’s strained back wont slow him tonight.
- Kyrie wont crack under pressure.
Prediction: Cleveland’s taking it in a solid battle.