It’s finally here folks. This entire year we knew what the end would look like. Round 3. The trilogy. The rubber match. Warriors. Cavs. And here at Four Guys, our experts are going to break down the NBA finals. Let’s work.
Who is the biggest X-Factor in this series?
Dan: Klay Thompson. Heres the thing: Klay has been struggling to find his shot in the postseason. However, his presence alone garners a lot of attention. After all, he did score 60 in 3Q. He can NOT be what Harrison Barnes was last year: a non-factor. This allows the Cavs defender (most likely Lebron) to roam free and play safety. If he is able to get enough shots to fall, it could be monumental for the spacing. You can leave Klay open, and when they do he has to punish them.
Calder: Draymond Green. If he is on and making his hustle plays, no one can beat the Warriors. If they have KD and Steph balling and add a solid Draymond, they could honestly beat the Cavs without Klay Thompson. Klay is like the sunroof on the sports car. It’s nice to have and flashy, but you NEED those 4 tires on the car, and that’s what Draymond Green is for the Dubs.
Warriors- Klay Thompson
Cavs- entire bench
This is why I feel as if it won’t be a 7 game series. LeBron is playing out of his mind, Kyrie is doing his thing and Love is playing the best basketball of his life right now. But one thing that the Cavs have gotten away with is allowing teams to take advantage of their inconsistent bench, run up big leads and then hope Kyrie, Bron or Love can bring them back. Luckily they’ve gotten away with that lately; good luck trying that with this team.
As for Klay Thompson, everyone figured he’d be an x factor all season with the acquisition of Durant. I knew from the beginning that he’d find his role and settle into it, 3rd option (who could be a 2nd or 1st option on nearly every other team). One pattern we’ve seen all season is when he and Curry are having a bad game, Durant elevates his game. Similarly, when he and Kevin are having a bad game, Curry elevates his. Now we’ve seen Finals Steph Curry a couple times before, couple that with an off night from KD… Klay needs to be the savior. (That being said I don’t believe KD will have an off night this series)
Is this a tarnished victory if the Warriors win?
Dan: Why would this be tarnished? When Boston formed their big 3 or 4 it was fine. When Lebron joined Miami nobody discredited his 2 rings. He left to get one for Cleveland and form another super team. GSW’s core outside of KD was drafted. Any team that says they didn’t want the 2nd best player in the NBA on their team is lying. Cavs have the highest payroll as well. So let’s not act like the Cavs are the Kings and are completely undermanned. The difference is: GS spent wisely, while the Cavs listened to a player and tried to appease him.
Calder: HELL NO. Everyone builds their teams differently. Through the draft, with big Free Agent splashes, or both. The Warriors have made exceptional draft choices and added a superstar who wanted to play with them. There’s nothing illegal about it, they aren’t even one of the highest payrolls in the league. Anyone that says that this title would be tarnished is either a fan of a team that is failing at building a competitive team or as Lavar Ball would say ” a HATER”.
Michael: No. They had every right to do what they did. Just because you create the best super team in the history of the NBA doesn’t mean you don’t get rings at your award ceremony. The Warriors were never the problem in this whole thing, the problem was KD. And while I don’t agree with the move he made in the slightest, he had every right to exercise his options in free agency.
Does beating this team put LeBron back into the MJ discussion?
Dan: Lebron (as long as he doesn’t lose in the finals anymore) will always be in the MJ discussion. If he gets two more Chips WITHOUT LOSING, I can entertain the thought. He gets 3, its razor thin. The problem with this particular debate is people 30 and older whos seen both in their primes usually pick MJ because we grew up with that era. People early 20s usually lean Lebron because they grew up with him. Lebron James to me is the greatest 43 minute player of all time. But MJ is the best at the final 5 min. I prefer guys that close deals and take the final shot, not necessarily the best basketball play. I want the best player on the court to take the shot and I will live with the results.
Calder: No, LeBron can NEVER sit at the same table as Jordan. His resume is way too tarnished at this point and he’s only breaking records that Jordan set because he skipped College and thus has played in more games in the NBA. I’d LeBron gets to 6 or 7 Championships without losing any more, then I’ll let LeBron in the same room as Jordan, but the table is still exclusive no players that don’t have 4+ Finals losses. The fact that LeBron can’t hit a meaningful free throw and is always pass first when the game is on the line, all that kills his chance of being on my Mt Rushmore.
Michael: Though I hate to admit it, LeBron has been in the Jordan discussion the last 3 years or so. The accolades are starting to stack up; add a Finals win against one of the greatest teams assembled in NBA history…I think this elevates him to #3 on my all-time list. We’ve seen what he’s been playing like this postseason, I think he could easily give the Warriors a run for their money.
Dan: Warriors in 5. I can actually see a sweep here. But I think Cavs steal game 1 or win game 3. Warriors are good offensively and Cavs to bad defensively. Warriors have 4 legit bodies to throw at LeBron. I do think LeBron still gets his. Probably has a series line of 30-12-8 but Warriors slow KLove down.
Co-MVP’s: Steph and KD
Calder: Warriors in 6, although I could see them finishing it off in 5 games. I personally wouldn’t mind to seeing the Warriors pop the champagne corks in the Cavs visiting clubhouse again, but there is something special about winning it at home. I don’t think the Cavs have the talent to match all of the talent the Warriors put out on the court.
If Javale McGee got the playing time, I feel he could be the Finals MVP, but I doubt he will see the court enough. Durant is going to win the MVP as the entire team knows that KD needs to be a huge factor in the Championship if they want him to stay in the Bay Area. This is the most unselfish team I have ever seen (Draymond Green could have gotten 9-10 more Triple Doubles during the year but he didn’t care about the stats, just about the wins) and they will display it for the the world to see in a few short days.
Mike: Warriors in 6
Game 1: Cavs 115 Warriors 110
I think that KD struggles in Game 1, with Curry dropping 30+. LeBron will have a triple double and Kyrie will get his 25-30. But the main factor here is Kevin Love. Aside from LeBron he’s the second hottest player these playoffs, and I feel like he continues that hot streak into Game 1, with a 25/15 game.
Game 2: Warriors 117 Cavs 101
Game 2 sees KD explode for 20 first half points, followed up by 5 3-pointers made by Klay. Curry struggles with a poor shooting %, but an early lead expands as Javale McGee starts finishing lobs and out-hustling the Cavs bench. LeBron brings the Cavs back to within 6 late in the 3rd, but KD puts the game away, finishing with 40.
Game 3: Warriors 108 Cavs 101
KD again has a great game and goes for an easy 30 by the 4th quarter. This time, Curry is the second man up, finishing with a respectable 20-25. Kevin Love looks to shoulder some of the load LeBron has to carry with another 20-15 game, but Kyrie gets injured. LeBron and Draymond both finish with triple doubles.
Game 4: Warriors 120 Cavs 106
With no Kyrie and a tired out LeBron, the situation looks dire for the Cavs. JR Smith finds range from 3, but Kevin Love is harassed by Draymond Green. Love’s career reputation is built around empty stats and being soft for a big man, he struggles to silence the doubters and defers to LeBron too much. LeBron shoots a horrible % but finishes with a near triple double. KD hangs another 30 on them.
Game 5: Cavs 111 Warriors 110
Great games from the main 4 superstars in this series: Kyrie in his return has 35 vs Steph’s 32, and LeBron has 35/11/8 vs Durant’s 36/8/8. Love continues to struggle, but puts the Cavs ahead on a late putback, Cavs win their second at Oracle.
Game 6: Warriors 121 Cavs 109
Golden State closes it out on the Cavaliers floor, in a hard fought game that comes down to a few iffy calls towards the end. Durant finishes the series off with his 5th 30+ point performance and takes home the Finals MVP. LeBron finishes averaging 28/11/9, Love has a great overall series with 24/13, and the Splash Bros both end with 20 point averages.