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NBA Finals Preview


By: Frank Jordan
Date: Jun 3, 2015
   
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This is a popular pick when the season and post season began as it is a matchup of number one seed from the West Golden State Warriors and the number two seed in the East Cleveland Cavalier. Each team had their toughest test and biggest competition from their second round series. Cleveland swept through Boston in the opening series and Atlanta in the Conference finals, but in the semifinals the Cavaliers were taken to six games by the Chicago Bulls. Cleveland was also down 2-1 after three games, but that is when they stepped up and won a pair of close games in four and five before a big time win in game six at Chicago winning by 21 points. Golden State swept through a tough Pelicans team in the first round and advanced to the Finals taking just five games to eliminate Houston, but it was in the semifinals that put a little scare as they were they too were down 2-1 after three games. The biggest scare was that they were down in the series, on the road and were shooting poorly in games two and three from three, but they were not shaken or rattled as they stepped up won by 17 in game four, won by 20 at home in game five, and 23 back in Memphis for game six. These two teams split their two meetings with the home teams winning each contest.

Most people are going to focus on the four stars of the two teams with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving for Cleveland and Stephen Curry and Clay Thompson for Golden State, but it is the supporting cast that will be the difference in winning and losing. LeBron and Curry will pretty much cancel each other out point wise and the health questions are lingering there for Irving (knee) and Thompson (concussion). Both of those guys will play and be at their best since it is now or never, as they will have the entire summer to rest. For Cleveland it is on the shoulders of Iman Shumpert, Tristan Thompson, Timofey Mozgov and JR Smith off the bench. Shumpert needs to lock down defense, Thompson and Mozgov need to establish the inside and keep the Warriors off the offensive boards, and Smith needs to do what he does best and be instant offense off the bench and hit threes in bunches. For Golden State it is up to Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes, Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala. Bogut’s sole job is to rebound on both sides locking down the paint on defense and giving extra tries on offense, Barnes has to the third scoring option and being a big time swing man finding holes in defense for easy buckets and fast breaks, Livingston needs to run the offense off the bench and be a spark when needed and Iguodala is needed to be defense and also be a spark with the second unit and allow the splash brothers rest at times.

The NBA Finals has a difference set up than the earlier series which are 2-2-1-1-1 the Finals are 2-3-2. This series will go Golden State win the two games at home, take one of the games in Cleveland and return home for a game six to clinch the championship. The biggest key/ x-factor is Harrison Barnes as he needs to use his energy, speed and allusiveness to get easy buckets, keep the defense guessing, wearing Cleveland out and ultimately swaying the series in Golden States favor. In the end the Warriors will win the series in six games with Curry winning the MVP scoring over 30 points per game out shining LeBron.
 

  Frank Jordan
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