Golden State vs. Cleveland – 2016 NBA Finals preview

The 2016 NBA Finals are now set. The Golden State Warriors will take on the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight at Oracle Arena in Game 1, and this series is set to be one for the ages. Here is our insight on this NBA Finals matchup.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Pros – LeBron James. He is the biggest pro the Cavs have against the Warriors. The Finals he had last year was spectacular to say the least. If he can replicate anything close to that performance, while bringing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love a.k.a. Lil’ Kev back into the mix, they should theoretically have an easier time scoring against the Warriors and being competitive as a team overall. Kyrie’s ability to have the ball in his hands as opposed to LeBron opens the floor for everybody. You have to respect him, LeBron, Love, and the entire supporting cast of the Cavs, as their shooting has been outstanding thus far in the post season. The Cavs have an advantage inside as well. If their bigs can replicate what the Thunder did during the Western Conference Finals, they shouldn’t have a hard time finding themselves with the upper hand in the paint. Tristan Thompson can find himself on the offensive glass on a consistent basis, and Kevin Love has a chance to look like the Kevin Love of the Minnesota days. The Cavs have seemed to figure it out so far in these playoffs. The only question is if they can figure it out against the greatest team in NBA regular season history.

Cons – The Cavs are going to find themselves with some problems when it comes to playing the Warriors. They have two star players who will have severe defensive matchup problems against their counterparts. Kyrie can’t guard Steph nor Klay, and Lil’ Kev can’t guard Draymond nor any potential matchup he might find himself in. If they try to run small-ball with the Warriors, a lot of their offense will disappear. It will be interesting to see the decisions coach Lue runs with.

Golden State Warriors

Pros – The first big thing that comes to mind is small-ball. When Draymond runs the five, who do you play if you’re the Cavs? Who can guard Draymond besides LeBron James? Where does that leave Kevin Love? The Cavs will have major matchup problems when it comes to running small-ball with the Warriors. The Warriors have the two best shooters in the world, (that are also great two-way players,) and are the best shooting team in the NBA. Being able to hit the three consistently should prove to be huge in these Finals. Every time Steph or Klay shoot what appears to be a reckless three, it seems to drop. Team defense, and chemistry for that matter, should also be to the Warriors advantage. The core group of the Warriors lineup all played in the Finals last year, while the Cavs were missing two of their offensive superstars. If they Warriors can continue this trend of great team defense and lights out shooting, they should be able to find themselves holding up the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy at the end of this series.

Cons – Draymond Green is one flagrant foul away from being suspended for one game. He should still be able to play aggressive, but how physical will he be? Falling behind to the Cavs like they did in the series with the Thunder is also something the Warriors can’t allow to happen. The Thunder gave up the most fourth quarter leads all season, and LeBron James won’t allow that to happen if the Cavs take a commanding lead.

Final Thoughts

This is the Finals everybody wanted to see. It’s what most of the experts predicted the Finals to be. The greatest team vs. the greatest player of our generation. Will LeBron finally bring home a championship for The Land, or will Steph Curry become the new face of the NBA?

Predictions

T – Warriors in seven.

X-Factor – Draymond Green – Draymond has the undeniable ability to get into his opponent’s head. Being able to play physical with LeBron James, Kevin Love and the entire Cavs team can be huge for the Warriors, but he needs to be careful to not pick up a flagrant foul as it could potentially cost the Warriors the series if he is suspended.

D – Cavs in six.

X-Factor – Richard Jefferson – Jefferson provides the Cavs with a veteran presence, and he should see more minutes if the Warriors run small-ball with his ability to guard multiple positions. He would be able to guard Harrison Barnes or Draymond Green with fewer issues, and he also has the ability to come in and knock down shots.

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