It’s the Finals matchup that everyone wanted to see. The Golden State Warriors punched their ticket to the NBA Finals with a 96-88 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder Monday night and have the chance to win back to back NBA Championships. They will be once again facing the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second year in a row but they will be facing a completely healthy Cleveland Cavaliers team this time.
Last year, Cleveland played the Boston Celtics in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs and it got chippy. It was a very physical game and hard fought but the Cavaliers would win the series 4-0 but not without cost. Boston PF Kelly Olynyk got tangled up with Kevin Love while fighting for a rebound in game 4 and ended up pulling Loves shoulder out of its socket and dislocating it. He was out for the remainder of the Playoffs.
Even without Kevin Love, the next two rounds were relatively a breeze for the Cavaliers. They only lost two games to Chicago in the Semifinals and swept Atlanta in the Eastern Conference Finals and held the ECC Trophy in front of the home crowd. Meanwhile, in the West, Golden State was taking care of business by handling the Houston Rockets and ended up winning the WCC 4-1.
With Golden State having home court advantage, it was already going to be a tough series for the Cavaliers. Game 1 was as close as it could be that it ended up going in to overtime. Kyrie Irving, starting in his first Finals apperence, was driving to the basket in overtime when a wrong turn on the court fractured his left kneecap. Ending his season after appearing only one finals game. The Warriors would go on to win the game.
LeBron, who won the next two practically by himself, was a man on a mission and a city and team on his back. He almost averaged a triple double in almost every single one of the six games they played. Unfortunately, even after his historic performance, the bench wasn’t deep enough and the offense of the Warriors was too much to keep up with and the Cavaliers fell to the Warriors 4-2.
This year, Cleveland is completely healthy and has had plenty of rest and practice. The two most important games of the regular season were the two against the Warriors to prove they can beat them while health and last year was a fluke. Golden state beat the Cleveland both time, one game by 30+, but as these playoffs have shown, the regular season is nothing compared to the playoffs. Game 1 of the finals start Thursday in Oakland and this will be a Finals that no one will ever forget.
Predictions: For game 1, Golden State will win convincingly by 8 or more points.
For the Finals overall, I’m a born and raised Clevelander. I love this city and every team in it but I can’t see Cleveland beating this team. I say they lose in 5. Sorry guys.