With the NBA Finals now just one day away, let’s look at the Eastern Conference side of things. The Cleveland Cavaliers punched their second NBA Finals appearance ever, the first was back in 2007. LeBron’s first stint with the Cavs. That was one of those, if you blinked, you missed the series, type of situations. Cleveland was swept by the Spurs that year.
Fast forward to this season and the only theme is LeBron. David Blatt is a first year coach that’s definitely had some bumps in the road, even with LeBron at times. There was the time LeBron push Blatt aside while arguing a call. Some viewed it nothing at all and some have overblown the incident. It’s LeBron and the Cavs, so things tend to get overblown at times, no matter the discussion really.
No Kevin Love. No problem at this point. All the Cavs have done since losing Love to a dislocated shoulder, is go 8-2, including a 4-0 sweep of number one seed in the East, Atlanta. Now Cleveland swept Boston in the four games Love played, but the point is that not having Love, hasn’t affected the Cavs as many thought it would, including this guy. It’s impressive what Cleveland has done thus far, without not just Love, but Kyrie Irving missing quite a few games due to tendinitis and guys like Matthew Dellavedova stepping it up, in that next player up mindset, and it’s refreshing to see. Also, Dellavedova is not a dirty player. He plays hard. Personally, that cheap shot by Atlanta Hawks C Al Horford, was by far, worse than anything Dellavedova did to Kyle Korver, Taj Gibson or Horford himself. Horford tried to hurt Dellavedova and should’ve had more repercussion for intentionally trying to hurt someone on the court. Funny how that gets overlooked more than a role player trying to play for his job and scrambling for loose balls. Again, just overblown in this situation involving the Cavaliers. It’s a guy that makes just over $800,000, trying to prove he belongs with the game’s elite and hustle is one key aspect to his success.
What’s not overblown is this NBA Finals between the Warriors and Cavaliers. Two teams that clearly showed their dominance in the postseason. Golden State is 12-3 in the playoffs, while Cleveland is 12-2. Both teams have only lost one game at home this postseason, with G.S. only losing 3 total home all season. Curious to see who comes out the aggressor and really excited about some of these match ups on the floor. For instance, sound like you could have Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes all take a stab at guarding LeBron in this series. Who has the best chance at slowing the big fella down?! Steph Curry always creates match-up problems, so there’s that predicament for Cleveland. Former Ute and fellow Warriors Center Andrew Bogut should have a great match-up with Timofey Mozgov from Cleveland. And, where does Tristian Thompson and Kyrie Irving fall into this as well? Not to mention Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith. Depth doesn’t really seem to be an issue for both teams, but I guess that would make sense, since these teams made it to the NBA Finals.
I like this series and it’s hard to pick, but I think this is a seven game series with Golden State winning… Though don’t underestimate the greatness of the best player on the planet. LeBron won’t be able to do it alone and if Irving isn’t a factor, this series could be done in six!
Featured Image by: Keith Allison