By Kendrick Jackson, Contributing Writer
The inevitable matchup for the NBA Finals is here! The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will face off for the third consecutive time. Will the Cavs bring home back-to-back championships, or will Golden State redeem themselves after blowing a 3-1 lead last year?
The Cavs have looked like men among boys this postseason. On their way to the NBA Finals, Cleveland only lost one game during the NBA Playoffs, coming from the hands of the Boston Celtics in game three of the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Cavs quickly bounced back, winning games four and five by 13 and 33 points, respectively. This was largely in part by LeBron James’ performances throughout the playoffs. As a reward, James has now reached the NBA Finals for seven straight seasons; this is the eighth overall in his career.
During the third quarter of game five, James passed Michael Jordan to become the all-time leading scorer in NBA Playoff history. James is averaging 32.5 points per game, while shooting over 42 percent from the three-point line, a career-high for LeBron.
James and company must continue their spectacular play, as the Warriors will seek redemption for last year’s Finals loss. With an undefeated record this postseason, Golden State is looking more dominant than ever.
During the off-season, Kevin Durant, arguably one of the top three basketball players in the world, decided to join forces with the Warriors, a team that only lost nine games in the regular season last year. With the addition of Durant, Golden State still managed to finish with the best record in the regular season, only losing 15 games.
Due to the inclusion of Durant this season, Stephen Curry’s numbers have taken a dip, but have since risen this postseason. Curry is averaging 28.6 PPG, and shooting 43.1 percent from the three-point line, both career highs.
Curry and Durant may be the two best players on the Warriors, but both refer to Draymond Green as the heart and soul of the team. In last year’s Finals, during game five, Green received his fourth flagrant foul, ultimately suspending him for game six.
With the Warriors leading the series 3-1, analysts imagined Golden State winning their second consecutive championship if Green wasn’t suspended. With the stage already set, Green and company will have the opportunity to reclaim what was rightfully theirs.
Game 1 of the NBA Finals will appear on ABC at 9 p.m., June 1, 2017. Who will win the tiebreaker in round three between these two powerhouses?
Photo credit: NBA.com