Hoops junkies we have had to wait for a while to get to “the trilogy” but it is finally here. The question is now, what can we expect?
The Golden State Warriors come in as favorites and in some eyes, heavy favorites. That part honestly surprises me. The Cleveland Cavaliers have played their best basketball over the last month, they are rested, they are the defending champs and they still have the best player on the planet.
I am glad that we enter this series with both teams at full strength, minus Head Coach Steve Kerr of course. The Warriors won the first time these two teams met and I bet you many Cavs fans feel they would have won that one if Kyrie and Love were healthy. Last year the Cavaliers came back from a (3-1) deficit and most Warriors fans felt that was their title because Steph was just not 100 percent. So what happens this time around?
Both teams can shoot it and shoot it really well. The Warriors have been known to launch and connect on many three point bombs. The Cavs can flood the floor with three point marksmen too and have been hot this post-season beyond the line. Both teams offenses are sharp. The Warriors hit you with precision ball movement and scorers that can connect from just about anywhere on the court. The Cavs look for and find mismatches and exploit them to the fullest. Both offenses have hit triple digits in every game this post-season and I would expect more of that in this series.
Defensively the Warriors have the edge.
Maybe the biggest advantage of any key category in this series. They have been good defensively for a couple of years and have paid attention to this all season long. The Cavs were awful from the all-star break to the end of the season on defense. They have been better in the postseason but not amazing. They have lapses and you will not get away with that against the Warriors.
Bench play is always important and the Cavs may be slightly deeper but it may not matter. The Warriors will play their best players for the majority of the minutes and with rest between games fatigue shouldn’t come into play.
Coaching may be a wash too. Tyronn Lue and his staff earned a lot of credit for helping find the best matchups to help complete the comeback a year ago. Steve Kerr, Mike Brown and the Warriors staff has been as good as it gets across the NBA for a couple of seasons. Look for adjustments over the first two to three games and then the teams to stick with what they feel is best the rest of the way.
All in all I think this series is really close. So how do you pick a winner? In a case like this I assume that each team will play it’s best for the entirety of the series and stay healthy. If that happens then I do believe that the Warriors will win. If the Cavs can get Thompson and Love to stay on the floor together gathering rebounds while not being a negative defensively against the Warriors smaller lineup then the Cavs may just do this. LeBron will have to dominate the series and that still may not be enough. With a steady diet of Iguodala, Green and Durant sharing time on him the Warriors will do their best to limit his control of the game. In the end, I believe the addition of Durant will be too much for the Cavs. Steph is healthier this time and Golden State’s defense will be the deciding factor in a close one. My heart would love to see LeBron win again, my mind says Warriors find a way and do it in front of the home crow in game 7.