Considering what’s happening in the NBA playoffs right now (plus the fact that the Warriors just swept the Spurs), it certainly looks like the upcoming finals will see a rematch between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors.
Last year, the Cavs somehow managed to defeat the Warriors in seven games and win their first-ever championship despite being down 1-3. The Warriors, on the other hand, defeated the Cavs and won it all in the six-game 2015 NBA finals.
Injuries to both teams
The Cavs probably think they should’ve won the 2015 NBA finals because back then, Kevin Love was out during the entire playoffs, thanks to a separated shoulder. Plus, Kyrie Irving played just one game in the finals before being hurt with a knee injury.
Similarly, the Warriors may hold the view that they should’ve been last year’s champs. Stephen Curry had to play through a knee injury during the finals, which hampered his effectiveness. Likewise, Andre Iguodala tweaked his back in game 6, leaving him a shadow of his former self during the series.
Then there’s Draymond Green’s suspension in game 5.
Podcast smack talk
The rivalry is so hotly contested that it bled over into the internet. The Warriors’ Green talked smack about a podcast hosted by Cavs players Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson.
Green texted Jefferson saying:
“I’m going to fucking kill your podcast. I’m two episodes in and haven’t had a guest or anything, it’s all me. I’m going to destroy you, bro. You’ve all had your teammates and everything (in the podcast). You won’t be able to keep up.”
The most recent shots fired between the two teams also involved Jefferson and Green.
Pot, meet kettle
In his podcast, Green said he wanted teams – particularly Cleveland’s opponents – to compete a little harder, which is a bit rich, considering that his Warriors have yet to lose in the post-season, and they usually blow out their opponents.
Jefferson fired back with a lengthy response:
“Somebody that decided to start a podcast after we did wanted to comment on the quality of teams that we’re playing. Which I think is just not very nice because obviously, we know what Portland and Utah have accomplished this year, or just in general. I can imagine with (Jusuf) Nurkic being out obviously Portland was at full strength. With George Hill being out, obviously, Utah was at full strength. Mike Conley being out a couple years ago: full strength. Cavs not having Kevin (Love) or Kyrie (Irving) at full strength.
So at the end of the day to criticize what other people are doing I think it’s just best that you take care of whatever’s in front of you. But you should never criticize what other people are doing. You should never criticize what other teams are doing. At the end of the day if you are working with an efficient group of guys that are handling their business, then you should take it. But you should also look at, ‘Have we been playing the highest level of teams every single year everybody at full strength?’ before you go and criticize other people.”
NBA finals predictions
This year’s NBA finals is important because it’s going to break the tie between these two teams. Will it be different? With future Hall of Famer Kevin Durant and JaVale McGee (a long, athletic center) playing for the Warriors, it will certainly be more interesting, especially in terms of matchups and size.
Can the Cavs win two straight championships? We still think so. Our prediction: Cavs in 7 games. Why?
- The Warriors lack size. In their 15 losses during the regular season, they grabbed only 46.5% of the rebounds and allowed 48.9 points in the paint.
- The Warriors lack depth.
- Klay Thompson has been shooting 38.8% in the playoffs.
- Andre Iguodala is injured. Again.
- The Cavs have players who can limit Durant’s ability to score, but the Warriors don’t have anyone who can stop Lebron.
The 2017 NBA finals schedule is as follows (All are at Eastern time):
- Game 1: Thursday, June 1 at 9pm
- Game 2: Sunday, June 4 at 8pm
- Game 3: Wednesday, June 7 at 9pm
- Game 4: Friday, June 9 at 9pm
- Game 5: Monday, June 12 at 9pm
- Game 6: Thursday, June 15 at 9pm
- Game 7: Sunday, June 18 at 8pm