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NBA Finals prediction pits MVP against super-team

Nathan Hawkins, Reporter

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After an awful NBA playoffs that was headlined by blowouts, very few highlights, and just plain, boring basketball, we have arrived at the pinnacle event of professional basketball: the NBA Finals. This year, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors won their respective conferences and will compete for the NBA Championship.

Again.

We get a trilogy of this Finals matchup, and even though the domination by these select clubs is awful for basketball, they are the best teams in the league.  The Cavaliers finished the regular season 51-31 and were the second seed in the Eastern Conference. The Cavs dominated as expected, and went a remarkable 12-1 in the playoffs to return to the big stage.

The Warriors, who finished the regular season first in the Western Conference at 67-15, have been unstoppable this postseason, becoming only the second team ever to enter the Finals undefeated. They won’t finish undefeated, but they will come out on top, leaving with their fifth title in franchise history.

Full disclosure: I hate the Warriors. Their play and the whole “super team” persona that they exude is ruining competitive basketball, but they don’t care about the power imbalance, and they certainly don’t care about my opinion of it.

But they got talent, and they got a lot of it. If two-time MVP Steph Curry, three time all-star Klay Thompson, former Defensive Player of the Year runner-up and current nominee Draymond Green, and even former all-star Andre Iguodala riding the bench weren’t enough, they added superstar, former MVP, and current cupcake Kevin Durant this past offseason.

Without getting bogged down into stats, you can see right off hand that this team is star studded, but even more important, they will be a matchup nightmare to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Last year, when the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead (que the memes), Kyrie Irving outplayed Curry big time, averaging 4.5 more points per game and shooting 46.8% compared to Curry’s 40.3%. The bigger problems come from everyone else. Last year, LeBron James was guarded by Andre Iguodala, or Draymond Green when Iguodala wasn’t on the floor, and he still managed 29.7 ppg and won Finals MVP.

LeBron is an amazing leader, and Cleveland’s only hope is that he can go off in scoring and still have enough left in his tank to shut down whoever coach Tyronn Lue decides to put him on. Even then, Cleveland would have an uphill climb.

If LeBron guards Green, who guards Durant? J.R. Smith? Tristan Thompson? Kevin Love? The reality might be that LeBron will have to guard Durant, which is the only real way to contain him to any extent. That will leave the Cavs susceptible to the Warriors’ lethal pick and pop. It’ll also give Kevin Love, who is playing his best basketball in quite some time, a hard matchup against either Green or a bigger Zaza Pachulia.

The Cavs’ biggest hope is that Curry has an awful Finals, along with the hope that LeBron can successfully hold Durant. If that can happen, the Cavs will win.

But it won’t. Cleveland will steal a few games–you can’t bet on LeBron James getting swept.  But in six games, the Dubs will prevail. Their super-team lineup is just too deadly, and the Cavs don’t have the type of matchups defensively to keep up with the fast paced shooting of the Warriors. If LeBron can pull this off, it’ll be time to seriously, and I mean seriously, look into the whole Jordan debate. If the Warriors don’t pull this off, well, in your face KD.

Warriors in 6.

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The Student News Site of Bellevue West Senior High School
NBA Finals prediction pits MVP against super-team