What makes a classic finals series? The storylines. The level of competition between the two teams. Elite players going at each other. Name it and the 2015 NBA Finals matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors has it.
This moment has been decades in the making for both sides, 40 years for the Warriors and 51 years for the Cavaliers, and the level of anticipation from both cities need no more hype to fill seats and turn up the ratings. The electric atmosphere is virtually assured in both Oracle and Quicken Loans Arena.
These two teams are not only the best that their respective conferences have to offer but they are also, undeniably, the two best teams in the league. Golden State has been the most consistent team on both ends this season and it translated to an excellent run where they ended up with one of the most prolific and successful regular season campaigns in history. On the other hand, Cleveland’s transformation is quite unprecedented. From becoming the ultimate underachievers early on, the roster shake up breathed life to their campaign and they even held the league’s best record since the arrival of the final pieces. It was a steep uphill climb but once they reached the top, there was no looking back – or down.
LeBron James talked about what these Finals will be like now that it’s just a three-game series.
“I mean, it’s three games left possibly. You just go out and play. You know you go out, you play hard.
“Coaching staff gives you a great game plan, you go out and execute it and live with the results at the end of the day. That’s all you can ask. It’s the biggest stage in the world, but I don’t put too much added pressure on myself about basketball. It’s just, that’s all it is. It’s just basketball.”
Their road to the finals were different but equally impressive. The Warriors dominated the rough-and-tough West playoffs as the Cavaliers took every adversity head on and came out a better group.
On the court, all eyes are trained on these two teams’ leaders as the best game’s best player refuses to hand over the torch to the league’s hottest item. While on the sidelines, two rookie coaches are looking to put the start of their NBA coaching career on hyperdrive with a championship.
Games One, Two, and Three have already provided us with our fill of finals moments. Two overtime thrillers. An almost-20 point turnaround. The showcase of Golden State’s strength in numbers. The loss of a key player in Kyrie Irving. The emergence of an unsung hero in Matthew Dellavedova. The historic play of LeBron James who’s averaging 41.0 points, 12 rebounds, and 8.3 assists thus far.
With everything that has unfolded, we’re now seeing a classic battle of muscle over will. The Warriors may have lost a disappointing home game followed by their first finals road matchup but that doesn’t take away the fact that they are still a very dangerous team capable of dominant runs. Meanwhile, Cleveland has shown grit that has enabled them to steal a precious road game and also a gritty home win but the big question about their endurance still lingers. Maybe the Dubs’ concrete strength in numbers will prevail or perhaps the Cavs’ immeasurable determination will prove to be the deciding factor.
Only three games have passed but the collective heart that has been displayed so far makes it a safe bet that we are in for one helluva finals series. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the best that the NBA has to offer as we witness history unfold.