NBA Finals Preview: Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers

Doug Mendoza
June 2, 2017

It has been said, written, witnessed and rehashed how the skills of LeBron James allow him to score nearly at will, chase down blocked shots, rebound, pass and take annual trips to The NBA Finals.

The year before, when Golden State won, Irving played just one game, Love missed the entire series and blah, blah, blah. This is the mighty Warriors, out for revenge and even "annihilation" after collapsing in last year's Finals.

Irving winning that matchup against the MVP rallied the Cavs, fueled a comeback from a 3-1 deficit as Cleveland captured its first major team sports title in 52 years.

Lately, Love has done that, but he allowed that facing Green and a Warriors front line that has added Kevin Durant is a formidable challenge.

While the Golden State Warriors seem to be the overwhelming betting favorites for the NBA Finals, they should not be looked at as underdogs.

Getting ready for Game 1 had already become a more daunting task with what happened. Golden State Warriors' JaVale McGee dribbles during an NBA basketball practice, Wednesday, May 31, 2017, in Oakland, Calif.

"As much as Golden State is being talked about", Shaw said, "Cleveland is still the defending champions".

Not that anyone expected any different.

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors both believe they have more to offer than in years past as they meet for the third consecutive year in the NBA Finals beginning Thursday night.

Silver also went on to defend Kevin Durant's decision to join the Warriors, a move that many people believe destroyed any chance of the National Basketball Association having parity.

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This matchup has seemed ordained since James walked off the court in Oakland last June, having delivered his native northeast OH its first major team championship since 1964.

As it turned out, Clark was never more than an afterthought in two seasons with the Jazz as he played in just 23 games each year and spent time with the Idaho Stampede of the D-League. In contrast, the Cavaliers stumbled to a good-not-great regular season but hit their stride in the playoffs, with just a single loss blemishing their 12 victories in the post-season. "I got a promotion when I got to the 30s". Hate in America, especially if you're African American, is living every day. James again led the way in 2016, but he had their help, including Irving's dagger three to close out Game 7.

"He's a great player on both sides of the ball, but defensively he sets the tone for them", Love said of Green. Durant joined the Warriors to win a championship, to be the missing piece in the team's failed quest last season.

By the time the Los Angeles Lakers met the Boston Celtics for the third time in the NBA Finals in the 1980s, defensive stopper Michael Cooper had enough with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and the rest of the Celtics.

He took two fewer shots per game, his scoring average dropped from a league-leading 30.1 to 25.3 and his 46.8 percent shooting was his worst since 2012-13. "I've gone from having to guard him to start to finish and now being on his team and knowing how hard he works and how much this matters to him".

Acting coach Mike Brown isn't surprised to see Green take a more controlled approach this post-season.

"It's a team game".

"Draymond's an intelligent guy", Brown said.

The 6-foot-10 Love is on pace to be the first player in National Basketball Association playoff history to average at least 10 rebounds per game, shoot 45 percent from 3-point range and make 20 or more 3-pointers in a single postseason.

Even if he puts up fantastic numbers, James will bear the burden of failure if Golden State wins the championship. Since Kevin Durant's July 4 announcement that he was headed to Golden State. So to come in here today, it's definitely something that's not lost on us, and it's a great opportunity for us.

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