The NBA Finals are finally here, and your Cleveland Cavaliers will take on the Golden State Warriors tonight starting at 9PM EST/ 6PM PT. Cleveland’s young, but also experienced squad will take on the team with arguably the best home-court advantage in the NBA in the Warriors. However, no one on this Warriors’ squad has ever been to an NBA Finals before. So who has the advantage? Who wins? Cavs Nation has your Finals predictions, and here’s what our writers think about the result of this series:
Cavs in 5.
Barring any injury, I see the Cavs winning in 5 but most, if not all, games would be close. Championship experience is Cleveland’s main trump card here and it should create that separation during crucial stretches. Taking care of the rock and defending the three-ball, which has become the Cavs’ speciality, will also be among the main deciding factors.
Cavs in 5.
One team has LeBron, one team does not. Curry, Thompson and co. are not ready for the bright lights that is the NBA Finals. If reports are correct and Kyrie has improved a lot, that bodes well for Cleveland as well. Curry at his best and Kyrie at his is a wash in terms of point production. If Kyrie is able to marginalize the difference between himself and Curry, look for LeBron to bring Cleveland it’s first championship in 51 years.
Cavs in 6.
The reason is simple, two words. LeBron James. Cleveland has him, Golden State does not.
LeBron is not only playing out of this world right now but he’s also got an incredible amount of Finals experience. The Warriors have absolutely no experience in playing basketball in June. Let’s get this party started.
Cavs in 6.
Cleveland will expose the Warriors on the glass, with Double T. commanding most of the attention while guys like Moz, Shump and JR swoop in for extra possessions. Blatt will do something creative on defense, along the lines of LeBron on Draymond Green instead of Double T. so he can cover pick and rolls with Curry. I also look for an attempt to expose Curry on defense. He will be screened a lot, and even forced to guard in the post, potentially even with Delly a few times. At some point in this series the world will realize that while the Warriors have the best two shooters, we probably have the next five best.
Cavs in 6, winning Games 1, 3, 4, & 6.
Warriors in 7
The Cavs are very strong right now, and LeBron is at arguably the best shape he has ever been going into the finals. But the Cavs are short in terms of personnel, especially with Kyrie and K. Love both injured. I guess a lot of this depends on Kyrie’s health, but I can’t imagine that Kyrie Delly or Shump. can shut down Steph, Klay, Barnes and Iggy. I believe in the Cavs, and I definitely think they can get the series to game 7, but I don’t think they can eek this series win out this year.
While another sweep is certainly against the odds, I think the Cavs could be the team to pull it off. If pesky D from Delly, Iman, and JR can at least limit Steph Curry and Klay Thompson’s production, the Cavs can win. On the other end of the court, LeBron and Kyrie can produce big time and the King has proved that he can’t be stopped this far. I think James should easily be able to play his interior game and support the Cavs. He also has to be smart with the ball and know when to kick it out. With the amount of shooters that the Cavs have these could be easy games if the Cavs aren’t sloppy on defense and can limit turnovers.
Warriors in 6.
The incredible depth of the warriors behind their already strong starting 5 will be the reason why the Warriors will keep Cleveland in its championship drought. The ability for the Warriors to bring two former all stars (Andre Iguodola and David Lee) off their bench speaks to just how deep this team is. With the Cavs’ bench already being depleted with the injuries to Kevin Love and Anderson Varejao, I honestly do not see the Cavs being able to run with the Warriors second unit. Although I hope my prediction is wrong, this is how I envision the 2015 NBA Finals going. As always, GO CAVS!
Cavs in 6.
Obviously, this series is contingent on LeBron’s performance and Kyrie Irving’s health. Word around the Cavs office is that they’re keeping Irving’s health a mystery in order to surprise Golden State and their gameplan. So I’ll embrace some optimism and assume he’s healthy. As for LeBron, when he averages 7 assists and 10 rebounds in a Finals series, his team has gone on to win the title. Currently this postseason, James is averaging 10.4 rebounds and 8.3 assists, which bodes well.
And although LeBron conceded to Curry’s irrepressibility, the Cavs currently lead the playoffs in opponent 3PT %, holding teams to just 28.1% from behind the arc. Add in LeBron’s finals experience and the Warriors’ lack thereof and I believe Cleveland may be in for a title within the next two weeks.
Cavs in 6.
I do believe the Cavs have put out a bit of a smokescreen about Kyrie’s health. The Warriors have no Finals experience and I think Curry will shrink on the moment. Not only that but I think there are only about 5 guys who can minimize Curry’s game, and we have one, Iman Shumpert. The Cavs match up well with the Warriors. My X-factors are Kyrie’s health, Tristan Thompson, and the Cavs preparation when defending the 3. Oh yeah, and we have that guy named LeBron James. He is a man on a mission and is determined to bring this city a title. A loss in this series could hurt LeBron’s legacy immensely, and he knows that. Over the years I’ve learned betting against LeBron just isn’t a good idea.
Warriors in 5
Trust me, this is one time in my life in which I am praying that I am wrong. However, there are too many questionable variables for the Cavs that need to be answered. How healthy will Kyrie be? If not, how will they hide him on defense? Who will he guard? How will the Cavs respond when the Warriors go small? Who is going to guard Curry and Thompson? Will LeBron’s shooting slump finally end?
There are too many unanswered questions for the Cavs for me to have absolute confidence that Cleveland’s 51-year championship drought will finally come to an end. As great as LeBron is, he averaged 28 points, seven rebounds, four assists, shot 58% from the field in last year’s finals, and the Heat lost in five games.
The Warriors are arguably the toughest teams LeBron has ever faced in the Finals and they are on pace to be on of the best teams in NBA history. Hard to comprehend that a LeBron James led team is such an overwhelming underdog, but the numbers don’t lie.
If the Cavs manage to win it all, and this is not an hyperbole, it would be one of the greatest upsets in NBA history. I just don’t see it happening.
With all due respect, Cavs in 5.
Our strengths are obvious. Golden State has an army, but we have an unstoppable freight train, shooters that shoot, relentless rebounders and a Dellavedova. Honestly, there’s just one focus for the Cavs: neutralize Stephen Curry, which we can do with the help of Delly, Shump and LeBron. This will force Klay Thompson, Andrew Iguodala, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut to beat out Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov.
I’ll take those odds on top of the assumption that having the World’s greatest player will ultimately be the difference. Have you ever heard of someone averaging 30/11/9 and losing? No, because no one has averaged that in the playoffs let alone going into the Finals.
Cavs in 6.
The Golden State Warriors are not unstoppable. They have holes and weaknesses just like any other team. The Cleveland Cavaliers defense has been taken to a whole new level thanks to the activity of Matthew Dellavedova and Tristan Thompson. The Cavs have had the second best field-goal percentage defense this postseason allowing their opponents to shoot just 41.2% from the field and just 28.1% from three-point land.
The Cavs biggest issue was rim protection at the start of the season. Tristan Thompson, a guy who averaged 0.7 blocks per game this regular season and was never known as a defensive presence, has had eight games of at least two blocks out of the possible 14 games. Green has had to go up against Anthony Davis, Zach Randolph, and Josh Smith/Terrence Jones, none of whom (to me) have as great a motor and tenacity as Double T. Mozzy’s blocks per game have also gone up from 1.2 in the regular season to 1.9 per game in the playoffs, giving the Cavs an incredibly athletic and defensive duo in the frontcourt. Mozzy can hit the outside shot while Bogut struggles from any part of the floor not within five feet of the rim.
As LeBron said, Kyrie at 50% or 60% is better than Kyrie at 0. Kyrie’s numbers have declined with the foot injury, but he will still be on the floor barring any setbacks and the Warriors defense will have to deal with him.
In the end, I believe this is the year Cleveland’s 51-year professional championship drought comes to an end with the Cavs winning in 6.