The Golden State Warriors advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1975 (40 years). That was also the last time they won an NBA Championship. The Warriors come into the Finals with the best record in the NBA (67-15). They knocked off the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round with a 4-0 sweep. They took down the Memphis Grizzlies in the second round with a 4-2 series win. After that gut wrenching series, they beat Dwight Howard, James Harden and the Houston Rockets in 5 games to advance to the Finals where they will take on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. There isn’t a single player on the Warriors that has been to the NBA Finals. The Cavaliers have 7 players (LeBron James, James Jones, Kendrick Perkins, Brendan Haywood, Anderson Varejao, Mike Miller and Shawn Marion). They will have a tall task, but they have the reigning MVP in Steph Curry and one of the deepest teams in the league. The question heading into Game 1 is the health of Klay Thompson, who suffered a concussion during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals against the Rockets. He has cleared the NBA’s concussion protocol but you never know with concussions. We all the know the elephant in the room that the Warriors have to deal with, that is LeBron James. The man who is appearing in his 5th straight NBA Finals appearance. The only player to not wear a Boston Celtics uniform to achieve that accomplishment. The individual matchups will be very interesting, here are the ones that come to mind.
Stephen Curry vs. Kyrie Irving
Klay Thompson vs. Iman Shumpert
Harrison Barnes vs. LeBron James
Draymond Green vs. Tristan Thompson
Andrew Bogut vs. Timofey Mozgov
Shaun Livingston vs. Matthew Dellavedova
Leandro Barbosa vs. JR Smith
Andre Iguodala vs. James Jones
Those are the ones that stand out. I wouldn’t be surprised if Barnes, Green and Iguodala will take turns on LeBron and James guarding Curry. Because of the depth and the system that first year Head Coach Steve Kerr has instilled into this team defensively is the reason why I am going Warriors in 6 games. I would love to see this series go 7 though.
The man who will be calling the NBA Finals on ESPN Radio and ESPN 700, Mike Tirico joined Tom Kirkland on TK in the Midday to preview Game 1. Listen to the interview HERE.
You can check out Dave Gore’s preview as he looks at the Cleveland Cavaliers side of the Finals, HERE.
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