By Assane Drame
After nearly a month and a half of NBA playoff action, the field went from 16 to 2. One team from each conference coming from the East and West. Both teams are on a roll and those teams are the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. This is the NBA matchup many expected to see during the early stages of the playoffs. And many expect the Warriors to pull it all off after coming off of what seems to be the perfect season. Then again, there are people out there who believe in the king himself, LeBron James. Many expect him and the Cavs to deliver Cleveland a championship after so much has happened to the city in terms of their sports teams whether it be the Cavs, Indians, or Browns. The Cavs specifically have never won a title. While the Warriors have not won one since the 1970s. Something has got to give right? Here are a few predictions on what will go down in the season finale of the 2014-15 NBA season. With that said however, in the world of sports you never know what may or may not happen.
A few Notes: The Warriors also have Lil B on their side, hopefully we’ll get a victory speech from Riley Curry, and is Drake conflicted on what team to root for?
Stephen Curry vs. Kyrie Irving
The reigning NBA MVP is on a roll. He has averaged 29 PPG this postseason while shooting 46% and 44% from 3. In addition to averaging 8 APG, his overall plus minus is over 10 which is pretty good. While Kyrie is one of the top offensive players in the league, he’s just no match for splash bro. No.1 when he is not 100% and plus we do not know what to expect from him heading into these finals with knee and ankle issues. The Warriors win the PG matchup.
Klay Thompson vs. Iman Shumpert
Most people will look at this matchup and go with Klay no ifs ands of butts. However, Iman Shumpert is no slouch. He is averaging 10 and 6 in these playoffs while being one of the reasons the Cavs defense has improved. I think him and LeBron will give the “all-mighty” Golden State backcourt some difficulty but in the end, Klay Thompson is capable of scoring at will and out of the two splash bros, plays better Defense out of the two. I am also assuming he will be fine to play after suffering a Seth Rollins like flying knee to the head. Splash Bro. No. 2 wins this matchup.
Harrison Barnes vs. LeBron James
No disrespect to Harrison Barnes. He has really come into his own during these playoffs. I mean he has been pretty good. Until further notice though, The Cavs simply wins the small forward matchup against every team. LeBron, despite the fact that nobody wants to admit it, overall his defense has not been the greatest and he has not been shooting as well. Even with those two things working against him, he averages nearly a triple double during these playoffs. He is the reason why The Cavs are on the verge of winning a championship. Therefore, the SF matchup goes to the Land.
Draymond Green vs. Tristan Thompson
There is talk on whether both of these guys are worth max contracts. Are they? Depends on who you ask. Neither of them might be worth it but maybe Draymond could be worth it more so than Thompson. On another note, Thompson brings energy, cleans up on the boards, and has been playing pretty well. He may average a double-double for the finals. Draymond Green on the other hand does more for the Warriors. He can pass, get to the rim, rebound, and is versatile defending positions. He is averaging 14 10 and 6 in these playoffs. Not too shabby. GS wins this one.
Andrew Bogut vs. Timofey Mozgov
Both of these foreign bigs are essential to their teams’ title runs. Bogut who is pretty good rim protector who is finally getting the recognition he deserves. In the regular season he along with Green were top 5 in defensive box plus minus with Bogut being number one. He is the Warriors enforcer and he is probably somebody I would not want agitate. Mozgov on the other hand has been playing well too. In fact, I would not rule out any future All-Defense teams for him. He has been the rim protector Cleveland has searched for. Neither of these guys are much of offensive threats, however Bogut wins in the rebounding department. In the playoffs Bogut’s rebounding per 36 minutes is near 13 while Mozgov’s is just over 10. As long as Andrew Bogut does not play like Andrew Bogus, GS wins this matchup.
Cleveland’s bench production has gotten slightly better thanks to Matthew Dellavedova & J.R. Buckets. However, after that it’s pretty much it. James Jones is cool but at times he is in and out of rotations, Mike Miller and Shawn Marion at one point got banished. Kendrick Perkins is only good for being an enforcer. Also fun fact! Joe Harris and Brendan Haywood play for Cleveland too! The Warriors are 8, 9, 10 men deep. Barbosa, Iggy, Speights, Livingston, Ezeli, and heck Lee gets a few minutes from time to time. GS wins again.
David Blatt and Steve Kerr
Steve Kerr took a fringe contender into a championship team. That speaks volumes as he did more than Mark Jackson did with the team. It is debated that he should’ve won coach of the year. Meanwhile, many people don’t even consider David Blatt to be the head honcho in Cleveland. David Blatt is not a bad coach as he should be getting more credit than he deserves but if you ask most people, they think LeBron is the head coach of the Cavs. GS wins this one.
Prediction: Warriors in 5
On paper, the Warriors are the one of the best teams ever according to advanced statistics and should win this handily. They have the best backcourt in the NBA, rank top 5 in offense and defense efficiency in the playoffs, and they’re a deep team pretty much like how the Spurs usually are. Of course you can never count out LeBron but he’s pretty much known for taking teams to the finals but not doing much when getting there as he is 2-5 in the finals (haters will bring up that if it weren’t for Ray Allen he’d be 1-5 but that’s a story for another day). I wouldn’t be surprise if this series went deep but I’d be shocked if the Warriors didn’t pull this off but in the world of sport you never know what may or may not happen. Oh yeah and as for Finals MVP, it is Steph’s to lose.