For the fourth year in a row, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors are going to battle for the title of NBA champion.
The next year the Cavaliers faired much better, beating the Warriors in seven games. And last year, the tables turned again with Golden State winning in only five games.
Now the stage is set for this historic match up now it its fourth go round.
A New Record Set
It’s a rare thing for two teams to face off in a championship more than once. But to do it four times in a row is unheard of. There are a few examples that come close but four is the record so far.
To find two teams that have met three times in a row we go first to Major League Baseball. In 1921, 1922, and 1923, the New York Yankees and the New York Giants competed for the World Series title. Professional hockey has a similar story. In the 1950s the Montreal Canadians and the Detroit Red Wings met in three consecutive Stanley Cup Finals.
The next rivalry was also in the 50s when the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions met in the championship (this was before the Super bowl had been established) two years in a row. So whatever happens in the upcoming series between the Cavs and the Warriors, it is sure to be in the record books.
For a minute, it looked like the Cavaliers might fall to the Boston Celtics. The Cavs went down 2-0 after the opening two games in Boston. But they worked the series back to 3-3 and after a disappointing showing from the Celtics in game seven, they took the series.
It can’t be argued that LeBron James is to thank for the Cavs’ advancement to the finals. He averaged 33.6 points per game with 8.4 assists and 1.1 blocks. There’s no denying that without LeBron, the Cavs wouldn’t have had a shot. But it seems that his superstar power is enough to carry the team. After all, he has lead played in the last seven NBA finals.
The loss of power forward/center Kevin Love was definitely felt by the Cavs. Love adds a key element with her post game as well as his ability to shoot from outside. He’s been out with a concussion since game six of the series with the Celtics. It’s likely that he will be absent from the starting lineup at the start of the finals. Fans will have to wait and see if he is able to return.
The Golden State Warriors are not without their own injuries. Small forward/shooting guard Andre Iguodala will not be starting for the Warriors due to a leg injury. The team will miss his size and physical play and will have to rely more on Draymond Green and Kevin Durant.
This should not be a problem. The Warriors starting lineup reads like that of an all-star team. Even with Iguodala missing the Cavs have their work cut out for them.
It’s so difficult to defend against the Warriors because they so many threats on offense. Even is Curry is having an off game and not sinking three, the Cavs have to worry about Durant causing trouble everywhere from the paint to well beyond the three point arc. That’s not to mention big man Draymond Green and shooting sensation Cley Thompson.
The Cavs have made it this far and there’s no telling what might happen. But they certainly have their work cut out for them.
Predictions For The Finals
It’s no question that Golden State has the better team. Cleveland is riding on LeBron’s coat tails when the Warriors have depth. It’s hard to say whether Curry of Durant is more valuable for the team.
But don’t write off Cleveland just yet. LeBron has a knack for pulling off miracles and getting his guys to produce. Not to mention scoring 30 to 40 points a game himself. It won’t be surprising if the Cavs take a game or two at home and stretch this series out. But it’s doubtful that many outside of Cleveland will be putting money on the Cavaliers.