For the fourth consecutive year, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors will face off in the NBA Finals. They are the first teams in history to meet up against each other for more than two straight years.
This season and the rosters were a little different for the two clubs. For the Cavs, they traded away Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the 2018 first round pick (number eight overall). They also added Dwayne Wade, Derrick Rose and Jeff Green to their roster with the expectation that they would compete for the championship. But, the team was struggling with chemistry, player conflicts and injuries. So they retooled their team by trading for Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance, Rodney Hood and George Hill at the trade deadline.
Despite their up and down season, the Cavs finished with a 50-32 record and the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference. They had to grind out the Indiana Pacers in a seven game first round series. Then they swept the Toronto Raptors for the second straight year in the second round and had another competitive series against the Boston Celtics as they won 4-3 in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Golden State Warriors
On the other hand, the Warriors are looking for their third title in four years. The playoffs were a little different for them because they were the second seed in the Western Conference and Stephen Curry missed 31 games and the first round with ankle and knee injuries.
Golden State won 4-1 against the short handed San Antonio Spurs and the New Orleans Pelicans. However, they were pushed to the brink by the Houston Rockets but they ultimately got through them in a seven game series led by Steph, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.
After watching these two teams play and the makeup of the rosters, here is why the Warriors will smoke the Cavs in five games.
1. The Warriors are the Better Team
I mean it’s quite obvious they got four of the top 20 players in the NBA (Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green). When Steph and KD are struggling, they can rely on Thompson to bail them out like he did in Game 6 against the Rockets where he had 35 points and made nine three pointers. If the two stars can’t find a way to get it going, don’t be surprised if Klay has a great series and becomes the Finals MVP.
They lock down defensively when they want to by giving maximum effort and creating turnovers. When they’re flowing on offense, meaning moving the ball and knocking down open shots, they can’t be stopped.
2. LeBron’s Limited Supporting Cast
LeBron James is arguably having the best season of his 15 year career despite all the circumstances involving his team. He played in all 82 games for the first time in his career and led the league in minutes played in the regular season with 36.9 and the postseason with 41.3. In the playoffs, he’s averaging 34 points, eight rebounds and nine assists per game carrying the bulk of the load.
His role players have been up and down to say the least. JR Smith, George Hill, Jordan Clarkson have all had up and down games in the postseason. Other players like Kyle Korver, Jeff Green and Tristan Thompson has given LeBron some help when he needs it. For example, Green started in place of Kevin Love (concussion) and played well by scoring 19 points on 7/14 shooting in the Game 7 clincher against the Celtics.
The inconsistency of the supporting cast will haunt them in the Finals.