Cleveland's postseason dominance aside, there are plenty of reasons to think Golden State will have no trouble in Game 1.
For the Cavs, the biggest draw is LeBron James with an equally impressive support cast of Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love. San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman, the superior player at the time, used to tell tall-and-lanky Durant to be aggressive, to take it to the hoop. What we know to be effective is him on the floor. Bowman recalled with a grin.
The driver said, if the Warriors win, he'll contain his excitement until he drops the Cavs off at the airport. He has already shown the ability to impact the postseason as well, as he went 4-for-6 from three in Game 4 against Toronto, playing 28 minutes and helping Cleveland close out the Raptors. It's really that simple.
And that may be the tipping point in a series that pits far and away the hottest teams in the league against each other in a third straight National Basketball Association final.
Defence has been the question for the Cavaliers all season.
This year's championship is the Warriors' third straight appearance, and James has seven straight between the Cavs and the Miami Heat, so it's not insane to think Golden State could keep on winning as long as its core stays intact. The over/under is 225.5, and the two teams have combined to score 235.1 points per game in the playoffs. One, James is the best player alive and his entire motivation now seems to revolve around collecting more rings.
For the seventh straight season, and fourth time with the Cavaliers, James has led a team to the NBA Finals.
James has probably never been better than he is now.
Let's get back to those numbers.
Even though the Warriors have four all-stars, they become unstoppable when Iguodala is right, allowing them to roll out a ridiculous lineup featuring Draymond Green at center. ― Reuters picOAKLAND, May 31 ― Cleveland superstar LeBron James, as versatile and unsafe as any NBA player, is a focus of the Golden State Warriors as they prepare for tomorrow's start of the NBA Finals.
Kerr took the leave between Games 2 and 3 of the opening round against the Portland Trail Blazers to find a remedy for the migraines and nausea he has experienced stemming from back surgery nearly two years ago.
For their part, the Cavs have also made an impressive run to the Finals with their only playoff blemish a Game Three loss to Boston in the East final. That opens the door for second chance points and keeps the ball out of Golden State's hands. Clearly, Cleveland understands what it takes to frustrate the Warriors just enough. James is now averaging 32.5 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, 2.2 steals and 1.4 blocks per game on 56.6 percent shooting from the field and 42.1 percent from deep this postseason. And the difference, is Kevin Durant. (No offense to all the Matts.) And you know, last year's was a little off too, now that you mention it. Stephen Curry was injured, first off, and the Green suspension was unusual, and, perhaps more than anything, for all the talk of "The Block" and Kevin Love's defense and the "LeBron Jam That Could Have Been", the last three-plus minutes of Game 7 last year were not, in fact, particularly pleasant to watch.
Van Gundy said Love is the X-factor for the Cavaliers, while saying defensive reserve forward Andre Igoudala is the same for the Warriors. Barnes averaged 9.3 points in the Finals a season ago, on 35 per cent shooting. There's Warriors coach Steve Kerr and the after-effects of back surgery that have led to absence.