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NBA Finals Preview

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Welcome to the NBA Finals everybody. The best two teams face off to see who will take one, the Larry O’Brien. Not any two teams though; because for the third straight year, Golden State will host Cleveland in their finals home opener. The Warriors swept their way through the playoffs going 12-0, the first time in NBA history that’s been done.

These Warriors aren’t the Warriors from last season; same goes for Cleveland. Both teams have rejuvenated their rosters. Gaining some assets and pushing for better in their organization to great heights. Golden State added arguably a top 2 or 3 player in the world in Kevin Durant and Cleveland took note knowing Golden State would come back to what many believe should be their trophy.

LeBron James to be specific, took note and voiced his opinion many times about how the Caveliers needed to improve if they want to repeat… “if that’s what they wanna do.” James was asked about his comments and explained that teams like the Warriors, Pelicans and Spurs “have bodies,” meaning they went out and got guys who will improve their depth and versatility; guys who can step in.

But a team source stated James’ comments “didn’t change anything” because management was already planning to make trades. Cleveland already added 2015 All-Star SG, Kyle Korver before those comments, then added veteran G Deron Williams to backup Kyrie Irving. Regardless of all the talent Cleveland picked up, they still don’t amount to the greatness of Kevin Durant.

The accumulative amount of talent on just the starting five rosters is bar none. No NBA Finals has ever had this many All-Stars or Offensive talent.

Many are stating that Kevin Durant has the biggest effect on the outcome of the game for the Warriors, but my instincts tell me it is Stephen Curry. Last years finals were very contrevisial on Stephen Curry’s end.

Questions like: was he fatigued going into the playoffs chasing 73? Was he not recovered yet from an ankle injury suffered in Game 1 against Houston and later reinjured against Oklahoma City on a floater to end the 3rd quarter of Game 5? What about his awful knee injury that sprained his MCL in his return to the Houston series? Was he even recovered during his 40 point outburst in Portland when he reminded us we was “back.”

Fatigue certianly played a part in his injuries wearing down his body during long stretches of games. But this years Curry is quietly mortified. Taking a backseat to Kevin Durant gave Curry time to rest and learn to run the offense like more of a floor general than a scoring guard. After Durant’s injury, Curry reved up his offensive game and has been exploding every since. Posting his best scoring number of the season in the months of March (28.6) April (29.0) and also May (28.0), helping the Warriors win 14 straight games while Durant was out and only losing 1 game in the last 131 days.

Kyrie Irving matchup to matchup outplayed Curry posting 27.1 PPG on 46% shooting and  only 2.3 TOs against Curry’s 22.6 PPG 40% shooting and 4.3 TOs. Irving also hit the game winner to close out the game. Irving knows the challenge Curry has to offer and knows he wants revenge; As does Draymond Green. His comments back in 2015 have been risen into this series saying he wants to “destroy” Cleveland.

Green has been extraordinary throughout the playoffs defining his candidacy as DPOY. His presence needs to be felt on the defensive end of the floor in order for the Warriors to thrive in these finals. Tristan Thompson vise versa; he has to keep all boards covered. He averaged five offensive rebounds in the playoffs, giving the Cavaliers back to back second chances to score again.

Klay Thompson needs to put his mark on every game of these finals to help the Warriors flourish. He can’t be abscent or a third option to Curry and Durant. He has to standout and become a man possessed as if he was scoring 37 in a quarter and 60 in a game. Thompson is arguably the best SG in the game alongside Harden; but Thompson has the edge because of his defense. Thompson’s lift & length makes him a threat on both sides of the floor and that’s what he’s been giving Golden State in these playoffs. Defending Lillard in the first round, disrupting passes in the second round, and shutting down Mills in the WCF.

All of Cleveland’s roster has to show up. Korver can’t go 0-7 from three, JR Smith has to take rich shots, Deron Williams has to come in behind Irving and run the offense. No one can be a liability because then the Warriors will feast on their turnovers; as they did throughout the entire playoffs.

Game 1 tonight @ 9 on ABC

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