It seemed inevitable. Almost every single expert had the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers once again matching up in the NBA Finals, even before the season began. The Warriors revamped by adding Kevin Durant, while keeping their core of Curry, Klay, and Draymond intact. The Cavaliers return as the defending champs, with the best player in the world in Lebron James. This time around, it is going to be a true rubber match, with each team taking home the elusive Larry O’brien Trophy in the past two years.
In 2015, the Golden State Warriors defeated a depleted Cavaliers squad without two of its best players in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Then in the following year, the Cavaliers completed arguably the greatest comeback in Finals history. The only asterisk being that the Warriors lost Draymond for a game due to suspension, with injury ailing Curry, Iguodala, and Bogut. This year there are no excuses for either squad. They come in fully loaded and healthy. Both teams want to prove they are better than their counterpart.
This NBA Finals could not have been set up any better. The Golden State Warriors, the most talented roster in the league, come into the match undefeated in the playoffs this year. They have played excellent ball all year, both offensively and defensively, and are the prohibited favorites. Some odds makers have them at as high as a 90% chance to win. The Cavaliers are also entering the championship round playing their best ball of the year. Their defense has picked up in the playoffs, and their offense has been nearly unstoppable en route to only one defeat up to this point in the playoffs. This will be a clash of two basketball juggernauts.
This matchup is filled with storylines. Will the Warriors make good on the expectations set after signing Kevin Durant? Will the Cavaliers prove that last year’s win was no fluke? The individual storylines are just as good. Will Steph play up to the MVP caliber form we know he is capable of? Will Kevin Durant come up big on the biggest stage, win that elusive first title and prove he made the right decision in the last offseason? Or will Lebron build further on his legacy as he continues to try to close the gap on MJ for the title of greatest of all time?
The result of this NBA Finals may very well shape how we look back on the last few years of basketball. Will we remember this stretch as a Warrior’s story or a Cavalier’s story? Either way, the culmination of the last few years has led to one of the most hyped and intriguing Finals of all time. My prediction, the Warriors win in 6.