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The Willistonian, Est. 1881

Cavaliers and Warriors Set to Face Off in NBA Finals

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Some might say it was an inevitability. It surely isn’t a surprise. Too well-oiled machines at the tops of their games, the Cavaliers and the Warriors, are set to face off against each other in the NBA Finals for the third time in as many years.

Though the teams are the same, the faces on the court will be a bit different for this latest installment of the championship trilogy. One used to be able to argue that the Warriors, with their bevy of three-point shooting marksman, were built for regular-season dominance rather than that in the playoffs. However, since adding one of the greatest scorers of all time in Kevin Durant, the Warriors may just be unstoppable.

But don’t tell that to LeBron James, a guy who has been playing some of the bast basketball of his career during this playoff run. When LeBron James is pulling up from three and knocking it down, the Cavs simply can’t be stopped. If there’s ever an argument to be made that LeBron has surpassed MJ, this playoff run has provided plenty of supporting-evidence. LeBron has dominated every facet of the game, save for a game 3 meltdown against the Celtics, in which James had already checked out of the game mentally when his team was up by over 20 points in the final half. Other than that, he’s been unstoppable.

And the same can be said about the entire Warriors team, which hasn’t lost a single game since the playoffs began. Steph Curry is finally becoming the Steph Curry that we saw last season, and Kevin Durant hasn’t slowed down a bit.

This year’s NBA finals is sure to be one of the most highly-rated, most anticipated series in NBA history. Sure, this year’s payoff games have been underwhelming, but that just adds to the lore of this final series. Two teams, with a combined record of 24-1 in the playoffs, are set to square off after being untested by their respective conferences on two of the most dominating playoff runs in recent memory. Never have we seen two teams so destined for championship glory in the same season. But when all is said and done, only one team will be able to hoist that Larry
O’Brien trophy over their heads.

So what will be the determining factor in this hopefully-climactic series? Obviously, the two biggest stars must show up. If either Kevin Durant or LeBron James disappears, the series will be over as soon as it started. The Cavs can stay afloat for a while behind a flurry of Kyrie Irving brilliance, and the Warriors can do the same behind the the same core that brought a championship to the bay area just 2 years ago. But in the end, how these
two superstars play will probably determine the victor.

Another thing to keep an eye on will be the three-point shooting of the Cavaliers. If they can shoot better from deep than the Warriors do, I wouldn’t be surprised to see things swing in Cleveland’s favor. Kevin Love will be a big part of that. Love, who seems as comfortable now as he’s aver been in a Cleveland uniform, will look to rebound from a lackluster performance in their finals matchup.

I’m also excited for the point guard match-up. Kyrie Irving did a good job defensively on StephCurry last year. But Curry has been on fire as of late. And offensively, Kyrie Irving will figure to continue to shoulder quite bit of the scoring responsibilities. Late in the game, the Cavs will continue to rely on Irving’s ability to get open shots at will and finish at the rim with the best of them.

Klay Thompson should also be kept an eye on. He’s seemed relatively passive during the playoffs, but as one of the best shooters in the game, he’s always a threat to break out of his mini-slump and put up a huge performance. And so is his shooting guard counterpart, J.R. Smith, who has always been circled as an X-factor, ever since his days playing big playoff minutes for the Nuggets.

There are also plenty of questions to be asked regarding the potential defensive matches that we should expect to see. The two most striking ones are: who will guard LeBron, and who will guard Durant. If they guard each other, we can expect a ton of historic frame shots throughout the series. However, I doubt they will. I’m expecting to see a lot of Andre Iguodala this series, as he’s been probably the best LeBron-stopper in the league over the past few seasons. He won the Warriors their championship two years ago, shutting down LeBron in the closing seconds,
and he’ll look to do the same this year. On the other side of the court, however, I would not be surprised to see LeBron on Durant quite a bit. The Cavs really don’t have anyone else to match up with him.

One can go on forever listing the possible scenarios and factors that will decide this series, but
in the end, it’s in the hands of the players. We can only sit back and enjoy what forecasts to be a
climactic end to an otherwise anticlimactic playoffs.

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Cavaliers and Warriors Set to Face Off in NBA Finals