Thursday, June 1, 2017

NBA Finals Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers vs Golden State Warriors Part III

By Katelin Marshall, @KatelinKnowsCLE

Finally, after a long drown out NBA season we finally have the last two teams left...and its the Cavaliers and the Warriors for the third straight year. Both teams are healthy heading into the finals and everything is lined up for another epic battle.

How Golden State Can Win:

There is no denying Golden State is a talented team. The team that won a NBA record 73 games last year added arguably one of the top five players in the game in Kevin Durant. The Warriors are a dangerous team in transition. And during the playoffs they are currently undefeated. The Warriors rank first during the playoffs in Points per game and assists per game, and second in field goal percentage and total rebounding per game.

There are a lot of factors for Golden State this series. Draymond Green is currently averaging 14 points eight rebounds and 7 assists per game. He's also shooting 50% from the field and 47% from behind the three point arch. Klay Thompson has been struggling during the playoffs. Only averaging 14 points on 38% shooting and 36% from three. Even if Klay continues to shoot poorly his effort on the defensive end can make up it. And lets not forget about Steph Curry. He is one the best shooters of all time and he can get hot at any moment of the game. He's averaging 28 points during the playoffs on 50% shooting from the field including 43% from three.

If the Warriors shoot like they have been and can crash the boards as a team then there is a very good chance the Warriors can pull a win.

How the Cavaliers Can Win:

Its hard to say the Cavs don't have a chance during the finals. They have the best damn player in the world in LeBron James. During the playoffs the Cavs rank first in field goal percentage and first from behind the three point arch. They have struggled on the glass even though they have Tristan Thompson, Kevin Love, and LeBron.

As long as LeBron James keeps on doing what LeBron James does which is Averaging 30+ points per game, 7 assists and 8 rebounds all while shooting 56% from the field and 42% from three. His effort on the defensive end and the leadership he brings are all things that honestly can't be quantified.  And if you have LeBron on your can never be counted out.

Kevin Love finally seems comfortable in the Cavaliers' system. He's averaging 17PPG and 10RPG, while shooting 47% from three. Hopefully Love will be able to play a bigger impact than he did during last year's finals. Yes, he did suffer a concussion and ended up missing a game because of it, but even when healthy he didn't play well until game seven.

And lets not forget about "Mr. Fourth Quarter" Kyrie Irving. The Cavs are undefeated when he records a double-double. Irving is averaging 24 PPG on 46% shooting and 36% from three. Irving has really come into his own this season. Playing a majority of the games this season and has just started to reach his prime.

The Cavaliers main "X Factor" in the finals is Tristan Thompson. His ability to switch onto smaller perimeter players in pick-and-roll defense is second to none...heck he might be the best in the league doing it. And the energy he brings on the offensive glass is key because it will give the Cavaliers extra possessions. Hopefully Thompson can cancel out Draymond Green because Green is the heart and soul of the Warriors. Just like last year, if you can get to Draymond you can get to the Warriors as a team and "Double T" is the key to that.

The Cavaliers' bench is another "X Factor" in this series. Whether its Kyle Korver, Deron Williams, or Iman Shumpert they need to continue to shoot well and also play great defense on the perimeter. Preventing the Warriors to catch fire from behind the arch meaning defensively they can't play one pass away.


Cavs win this series. I know its a "homer" pick but it is hard to pick against LeBron James. The man is on a mission and honestly we might be seeing the best basketball being played...EVER. His leadership he brings and his supporting cast might be one of the best in NBA history. If his Cavaliers team can win four more games an argument can be made for this team as the best NBA team of all time. This is an exciting match up and it should wrap out this rivalry very nicely.

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