By Sean Simara @Sean_FootyMad @TLE_Sport
The 2016 NBA finals will be a repeat of the 2015 as the Cleveland Cavaliers face up against the Golden State Warriors. The two superstars, Steph Curry and LeBron James will go up against each other, but this time James has all his sidekicks fit so will the result be different this year?
The Warriors won last year’s series 4-2, which was their first NBA championship in 40 years. Now Golden State can complete their quest for back-to-back championships. This would go along nicely with Steph Curry’s back-to-back MVP awards for the season. He was simply outstanding this year, he won a unanimous MVP vote which has never been done, and they had the little matter of 73 wins in the regular season – another record.
Their route to the final was slightly harder than the Cavaliers. The West is swamped with talent but Golden State saw off Houston Rockets & Portland Trail Blazers 4-1. They then came up against Oklahoma City Thunder which lived up to all the hype. The Warriors were 3-1 down and they looked dead and buried, but turned the series around and won in a magnificent game 7 in front of their own fans.
The Cavaliers route saw them cruise past Detroit Pistons & Atlanta Hawks 4-0. To be honest, they really should have beat Toronto Raptors 4-0 but they got past them in 6 games. They were miles better than anyone in the east so they were always getting to this final.
The most crucial thing for the Cavaliers is that their key players are all fit. Cleveland were hampered last year with injuries to Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving so this time around LeBron won’t be on his own; they will be looking to get revenge on last year. At the same time, the Warriors will be looking to top a great season in the best way possible and beat Cleveland again, this time with all their best on the floor. There was the smallest grey cloud over their win last year that the Cavaliers were not 100% and that has been on their minds since day one. They want to play them again and they want to beat them again.
Who wins this will come down to a few things. One is Kevin Love for the Cavs. He has to get aggressive, has to get in the opposition players’ faces. Draymond Green for GSW is their heart beat, not necessarily the team’s ‘best’ player but he can be vital.
Another factor is the three point shot. You can live and die by the three. If Cleveland go for that and miss the rebounds, the fast break point could see them off. We know that Klay Thompson and Curry can be lethal from beyond the arc. Kyrie Irving will have to be what we all know can be. He was injured in game 1 last year and missed the rest of the series. He will want to show what he can do on the biggest stage.
The last and most important factor for me is Steph Curry. He can take over a game at any time – he is just too damn good. However, this year I do see the finals going to 7 games. LeBron James is 2-4 in series finals. He does put up strong numbers but if he falls to 2-5 it does not look great in the record books. I just think Golden State are too strong and too good and they will win back-to-back NBA Championships, with Klay Thompson as series MVP.
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