In the time period between the NBA Conference Finals on both coasts, social media has been all in for the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, having been wrong for the past six seasons in his NBA Finals predictions, Stephen A. Smith has put his faith in the Golden State Warriors. He predicted the Warriors to take it all in game 7. This may make a lot of Warrior fans uneasy, but it’s really not that unsettling. Especially, if you watched the game last night, you as well as I understand that this series isn’t going to be only about LeBron James’ legacy.
First of all, before I even begin to break things down, you have to understand something. This is the first NBA finals since 1983 with 11 All-Star players. I say again…11 All-Star players. Golden State has six of them (Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, and yes David West). The Cavaliers also have an impregnable group consisting of the King himself (LeBron James), Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Kyle Korver, and Deron Williams. This is the third consecutive time these two teams have matched up in the finals. Even though the two teams aren’t completely the same as they used to be, they’re still just as terrifyingly talented.
Last night, Curry and Durant reminded us why they were former MVPs. Curry has two back-to-back MVP awards. The only other players in the arena that have anywhere close to those credentials are LeBron James and then Kyrie Irving with a Finals MVP.
James and Irving brought their game and performed how we’ve come to expect from them. They combined for a total of 52 points. Kevin Love also dropped in a decent 15 points. Even this still was not enough to stay in the dust of Golden State. Durant is cementing himself as one of the best Small Forwards to ever play the game. He easily notched 38 points against LeBron and the Cavs.
In addition, the NBA’s best sniper (Curry) also dropped in 28 points. What we saw during this game was a chemistry between two soon-to-be top-50 players of all time. Iguodala and Draymond served their purpose as GSW’s top utility options. I am a big fan of Klay Thompson. Unfortunately, he didn’t show up as we would have liked him to. He only scored five points on 3-16 shooting. However, he made his presence felt on the defensive side. He constantly shut down the weapons on Cleveland’s roster (James, Love, even Smith). Thompson has emerged as an elite defender before our very eyes. He ranks No.1 in in defense against opponents field goal percentage in the playoffs. Not too long ago, Klay Thompson used to be a critical component of the Warriors offense and a member of the “Splash Brothers”.
Cavaliers Head Coach, Tyronn Lue (Yes, the man that AI humiliated), told ESPN,
“They’re the best I’ve ever seen. They’re 12-0. They’re constantly breaking records every year.”
Oh right, I completely forgot to mention the GSW are still undefeated this post-season (Just some more food for thought).
To spice things up, GSW acting Head Coach, Mike Brown, was the former Head Coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was fired not once but twice for reasons I still don’t understand. Brown told ESPN,
“Those are two big household names (LeBron and Kyrie), so we know you guys and the fans are going to want to see that and pick up on it…I’m sure LeBron probably thinks he could play better, and you tip your hat off to KD.”
Crazy thing is that Durant still thinks the Warriors can play better. They defeated the Cavs by 20 plus points; imposing their will on the best team in the East (Just saying).
“We could be a lot better than we were tonight but in the Finals, you get a ‘W’, we’ll take it,”
said Durant in the post-press interview.
LeBron James, after dealing with prejudice around his LA home, played his type of game with 28 points, 15 rebounds, and 8 assists. He told the media, “We did a great job of covering the 3-point line but other than that they played a hell of a game.” He attributed the main difference in this GSW team is simply Kevin Durant.
Now with all of this information, do you as well as most of the country without hesitation, still take Cavaliers so easily? I know it was the first game and Golden State was home, but they were just as formidable on Christmas Day in Cleveland. I originally had Cleveland in 7. However, after seeing what Durant, Curry, and rest of the Warriors jump out the gate with that overwhelming performance, I simply don’t know. I’m still holding to my prediction of Cavs in 7. But, for all of you who made bets on the Cavs, I’d start making a habit of praying. This is going to be no cake walk.