The NBA Finals are finally set after the Cleveland Cavaliers decided to stop playing with the Boston Celtics and get down to business Thursday night. Now the NBA and fans have what a true basketball fans needs– a rubber match. To some, a third straight NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers makes no sense and is boring. Sorry, but I don’t agree.
This a matchup to decide what team is really the best in the league. For three years it has come down to either the Cavs or Warriors. Stephen Curry or LeBron James and now with both teams healthy, we will finally get our answer.
Who will win?
My money is on the Warriors and here are my 3 reasons why.
The Cavs bench is struggling
Say what you want about the Big 3 of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love. At some point, they will need to take a breather and that’s when the Cavs lose their steam. That goes for any team in the league when players of that magnitude leave the game but the Cavs must find a way to get better production from their reserves. The Cavs most lethal player on the second unit is Channing Frye. Since when does his name scream production? If Steve Kerr can manage a scheme in which he can attack the paint against the likes of Frye and Derrick Williams the Cavs will not stand a chance.
Say what you want about him joining the Warriors but it’s been smooth sailing for the team and Durant since he joined. Durant wants a ring and what better way than to get his first by beating the player that snatched his initial moment from him. The Warriors offense was up 3-1 against this same Cavs team last year before it all came crashing down. Their offense was still producing at a high rate, however, when Andrew Bogut went down with an injury it forced Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to play both ends of the court. By doing so, it took more energy, thus resulting in flat shots and mistakes. This is where Durant will hurt the Cavs. James is a great defender but now he has to worry about Durant on the defensive end instead of guarding the like of Harrison Barnes. If Curry or Thompson struggles then Durant is there to be that third scorer and let Draymond Green focus on the defensive end.
Cavs have no killer instinct
This is not about a 3-1 come from behind series win. This Cleveland Cavaliers Cavs team is not the same as last year. The roster may look the same but their play has been a bit lackluster this season. Maybe the team decided to take a step back from winning the No.1 seed in the East. There were stretches of games where the Cavs were mired in losing streaks as on and off court issues factored in. Once the playoffs started, the Cavs rolled but they also did so without facing a full team. The Pacers are not good. The Toronto Raptors were without Kyle Lowry and the Celtics were missing Isaiah Thomas. On the other side, the Warriors beat the Portland Trail Blazers without Jusuf Nurkic. Despite that, the Warriors still had to contend with Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Gordon Hayward and LaMarcus Aldridge. There was no Kawhi Leonard but this is where the Warriors showed who they are. While the Cavs let one slip away against the Celtics, the Golden State Warriors never took their foot off the Spurs throat. The Cavs will need to figure out a way to keep a team down once they have them there.