The Warriors will need Curry and fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson to be every ounce the marksmen they were in the regular season against the Cavaliers, a team that is peaking and breezed through a less challenging Eastern Conference playoff bracket.
All question marks regarding Cleveland’s championship viability minus Kevin Love were erased in back-to-back convincing series—a 4-2 beatdown of the Bulls in the Eastern Conference Semifinals that really wasn’t even close, and a swift deletion of the Atlanta Hawks in the Conference Finals.
The teams enter the Finals as clear superiors of arbitrary regions, as ESPN noted.
Cavaliers/Warriors: 24-5 this postseason. The last time a pair of teams entered the Finals with a better record was 1991 (Bulls/Lakers 22-4).
LeBron James and Steph Curry won’t guard each other beyond an occasional switched screen, but all eyes will focus on these two beloved superstars. LeBron, with *some* help at various points, carried the Cavaliers on his shoulders throughout the playoffs. Only Anthony Davis has averaged more points per contest in these playoffs than Curry (29.4 PPG) and James (27.6), and Davis only played four games.
Warriors power forward Draymond Green is the presumed favorite to guard LeBron James. Green’s rare combination of quickness and brute force has had some success guarding LeBron.
“He’s been here before, plenty of times,” Curry said. “We’re excited about the challenge. He had to win his first one at some point. We’ve got a home-court advantage we need to capitalize. This is what you dream about.”
Assuming Kyrie Irving is healthy and fully recovered from a chronic, bothersome knee issue, he’ll at least be part of the solution for hampering Curry. As we’ve seen throughout the season and playoffs, we can expect the Cavs to aggressively swarm Curry on high pick-and-rolls. It’s stopping the Warriors counter for the quick double team—whether that be Draymond Green 4-on-3s or perimeter swings to Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes or Andre Iguodala.
The Cavs would be wise to force the ball to Thompson, who never quite found a consistent stroke against the Rockets.
It’s hard to envision any losers in this dream NBA Finals series, but Las Vegas oddsmakers are calling the Warriors six-point favorites out of the gate, according to CBS . It would be too simple to say the team with the better star would win, but look at where we are now.