NBA Finals How they match up
Hey, someone new will win a title! After three decades of, in no particular order, Spurs, Lakers, Celtics, Heat, Mavericks, Pistons, Bulls, and Rockets, a different NBA team will be rewarded sometime in the next two weeks.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have never won a championship in 45 years of existence and Golden State hasn’t won in almost as long, since 1975.
The current most valuable player , MVP, Stephen Curry, will play against four-time MVP LeBron James, and the Warriors try to continue their season-from-nowhere after finishing sixth in last year’s Western Conference standings.
The regular-season matchup won’t provide much insight — the teams split two games almost evenly.
Golden State, masterful at home with a 46-3 record, won a January game against Cleveland, 112-94, thanks to 24 points from Klay Thompson and 23 from Curry. A fairly important footnote: James sat out because of knee and back injuries.
Cleveland won at home in February, 110-99, as James scored 42 points and outdueled Curry who had only 18 on five-for-17 shooting.
Here’s a closer look at the Cavaliers-Warriors matchup: Guards
Kyrie Irving is great for the Cavaliers, a rising star stopped recently only by knee tendinitis. J.R. Smith can be great as well, but he’s it’s too sporadic to count on consistently. The Warriors have gotten this far thanks almost entirely to their backcourt: Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry have averaged almost 50 combined points in the playoffs while making about eight 7.9 three-pointers a game. Edge: Warriors.
Versatile Warriors forward Draymond Green can do plenty of little things on both sides of the court. He’ll make a lot of money this summer as a restricted free agent. LeBron James already has a lot of money. And two NBA championships. And four MVP awards. He has carried been carrying the Cavaliers despite their ever-changing lineup and will continue to do so. Not to be ignored: Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson has become a solid rebounder and shot-blocker and Golden State’s Harrison Barnes helped eliminate Houston with 24 points in Game 5 of the West finals. Edge: Cavaliers
Yawn. An afterthought on both teams. Andrew Bogut, a former No. 1 overall pick, is a rebounder and shot-blocker who simply doesn’t score. Timofey Mozgov was a nice in-season pickup for Cleveland and is a younger, slightly less offensively challenged version of Bogut. Edge: Cavaliers.
Andre Iguodala is a reserve for the Warriors, effective in so many facets it’s hard to believe he comes off the bench. But he does. Smith can score in bunches for Cleveland, but the only other reserve of note is the team irritant, Matthew Dellavedova. Edge: Warriors
Two NBA rookies! Cleveland’s David Blatt has mismanaged games, almost calling a timeout he didn’t have earlier in the playoffs, and quelled rumors about locker-room instability during an uneven 2-10 stretch of the regular season. Golden State’s Steve Kerr has had to quell only the desire to analyze games on TV after doing it well for so many years. Edge: Warriors.
The Warriors’ fan base is tough to top, and the franchise seems like a team of destiny after so many fruitless seasons. Cleveland was has last appeared in the Finals only once, here in 2007, and deserves something for almost half a century of mediocrity, but the Warriors seem just a little more special. Edge: Warriors.
Warriors in six games.
KYRIE IRVING has been stymied recently by knee tendinitis.
KLAY THOMPSON teams with Stephen Curry to lead Warriors.