NBA Fi­nals How they match up

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Mike Bres­na­han mike.bres­na­han@la­times.com Twit­ter: Mike_Bres­na­han

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.

For­wards

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

Cen­ter

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.

Bench

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

Coaches

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.

In­tan­gi­bles

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.

The pick

War­riors in six games.

David Maxwell EPA

KYRIE IRV­ING has been stymied re­cently by knee ten­dini­tis.

John G. Ma­ban­glo EPA

KLAY THOMP­SON teams with Stephen Curry to lead War­riors.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.