Rivalry Renewed

Perhaps the most intriguing championship match-up in the last 30 years, The Golden State Warriors, and Cleveland Cavaliers will meet again for the third straight year in the NBA Finals. This star-studded match up comes after a subpar playoff, to say the least. There was really no doubt that the Cavs and Warriors would meet again in these finals, but let’s recap.

Out west, the Warriors opened up the playoffs against an overachieving Blazers squad, led by Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Game one’s first half made the series look promising, as McCollum and Lillard came out firing on all cylinders. McCollum scored a blistering 27 points in the first half and seemed unstoppable. McCollum (41) and Lillard (34) would combine for 75 of Portland’s 109 points scored in game one. However, the Warriors would prove to be too much for the duo, as the Blazers would go down in Game One, 121-109. Ultimately, the Warriors would go on to take command of the series, defeating the Blazers 4-0.

In the East, LeBron James and the Cavs opened up the playoffs against Paul George and the Indiana Pacers. A back and fourth game one would come down to a missed buzzer beater by CJ Miles. James led the Cavs with 32 points 13 assists and 6 rebounds in game one. Ultimately, the Cavs would go on to sweep the Pacers, in championship fashion. Fast forward, the Cavs would go on to sweep DeMar Derozan’s Raptors and defeat the Isaiah Thomas-less Celtics 4 – 1. The Warriors swept their way to the finals, defeating the Jazz and an injury plagued Spurs.

Now, the rubber match is here! If you like star play, you will definitely like this series. LeBron James aka The King vs Kevin Durant aka Duranchula, Kyrie Irving aka Uncle Drew vs Steph Curry aka The Baby Face Assassin and Draymond Green vs Kevin Love, will all be on tap. There is no love lost between these teams, as there has been a war of words between the two. Draymond Green has been quoted on a number of occasions saying the Warriors want to “annihilate” the Cavs. Love caught wind of Green’s comments and noted that Green (and the Warriors) would get the Cavs Thursday (June 1st).

There are many implications within these Finals. Now playing in his seventh straight Finals, (which hasn’t happened since the 60’s Celtics Dynasty) and eighth overall, is LeBron James. James is universally recognized as the best player in today’s NBA and a top five all-time player. If victorious, James can supplant his name in the conversation as the all-time best, usurping the great Michael Jordan. On the other side, Kevin Durant left a championship contender in the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the team that ironically came from behind 3-1 to defeat his then Thunder team, in the 2016 Western Conference Finals. Many deemed Durant’s move to the Warriors as cowardly and weak. However, Durant’s performance with the Warriors cannot be denied. Along with Steph Curry, Durant has been on a tear throughout the entire playoffs. The only thing missing from Durant’s illustrious resume is that elusive NBA title. With a win, Durant could put the critics to rest.

In the end, the 2017 NBA Finals is the match-up everyone wanted to see. Both teams are healthy. No excuses! Although the storylines make for a promising series, the series itself will disappoint many.

Prediction:

This year, LeBron James eclipsed Michael Jordan as the all-time scoring leader in playoff history with 5,995 points. Averaging 33 points 8 rebounds and 7 assists, shooting 57% from the field and 42% from three, James is poised to show another spectacular performance in the Finals. However, this Warriors squad is looking for blood and they are deeper than ever.

The Warriors will go on to defeat the Cavs 4-1. Durant will win Finals MVP by way of 34 points 7 rebounds and 5 assists per game. Being a LeBron James fan, this is tough to propose. Nevertheless, I cannot deny the greatness and dominance that we are witnessing from the Warriors. James and Irving will do their part. As for the rest of the Cavs, I do not believe they will be up for the challenge. (Sighs) Book it!

(Disclaimer) My heart is telling me the Cavilers will win in 6.

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