EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was written before the NBA Finals began and was submitted to the IV Press on Friday.
As the finals are set to kick off, the smell of revenge is in the air. The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers are set to square off in the NBA Finals for a second straight year. In last year’s finals the Warriors defeated the Cavaliers in six games on Cleveland’s home court. The Cavaliers had injuries to two key players that sat them out of the finals. Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving both missed the finals due to injuries. Andre Iguodala captured the finals MVP honor that year by averaging 16.3 points 4 assists and 5.8 rebounds in six games. In the regular season the Warriors owned the Cavaliers by sweeping in the regular season series. The most memorable win was at Cleveland when the Warriors just dismantled the Cavaliers by a score of 132-98 on Cleveland’s home court.
The Warriors didn’t experience any sort of Championship hangover. They went on to post the best regular-season record of all time by dethroning the ’95-’96 Chicago Bulls who went 71-10. The Warriors edged them out by one win going 72-9. Stephen Curry didn’t lose a beat either. Curry broke his previous record of 3-pointers made in a single season (286). Curry went on to shatter that record and made 402 3-pointers. Curry also received MVP honor — the first unanimous selection in NBA history. Curry averaged 30.1 points, had a field goal percentage of .504 and a 3-point percentage of .454, Curry also led the league in steals with 2.1. Dryamond Green came in second in triple-doubles with 13.
And on the other side of the ball are the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by none other the Lebron James. James had the same usual stat line. James averaged 25.3 points, 6.8 assists, and 7.4 rebounds a game. James came third in MVP voting to Kawhi Leonard, and none other than Steph Curry. Lebron’s side-kicks Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love played a healthy season all the way through to the finals. In last year’s finals the Cavaliers were without two players from the starting lineup, which begs the question: Would the Cavaliers have been able to compete better with them? The Cavaliers went with a decision to let go of Head Coach David Blatt. Blatt was only there for the 2015 campaign and a little of the 2016 campaign. He then got fired in January. The Cavaliers held the best record halfway through the year with a 30-11 record and owned the best record in the east. The drastic change was made by General Manager David Griffin. Griffin stated that there was a lack of fit with their vision of the team. Tyronn Lue took over as head coach as he was the top assistant before. Lue has so far gone 27-14 in a small stint of the year. The team has looked to respond better to their new coach. Kevin Love is more involved in the team now. In 41 games under Blatt, Love averaged 15.7 points, 11 rebounds and 2.7 assists. In his first six games with Lue his points went up by 4 and he then shot 40 percent from three and 50 percent from the field. In Lue’s opinion Love is a top-10 player in the league.
This looks to be another great exciting series. The teams are now injury-free and look to have a great fight.