The NBA finals are here with the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers making history as they face off for a third consecutive year - an NBA first.
This series is set to be legacy defining as Cleveland look for back-to-back championships while the Warriors look for redemption having let go a 3-1 series lead last year.
Cleveland’s form leading into the playoffs was poor, however, once they stepped onto the court in Game 1 against Indiana it was a completely different story. They have been focused and relentless as they swept both Indiana and Toronto before meeting Boston in the Eastern Conference Finals. Although dropping their first post season game, Cleveland were always in control taking the series against Boston 4-1.
Having their best post season, the Cavs are averaging just under 117 points at 51 percent shooting.
Over in the Western Conference and everyone expected the Warriors to sail through to the finals. And that they did, whilst writing a piece of history. The Warriors became the first team to claim a perfect 12-0 in the first three rounds making light work of Portland, Utah and finally the injury-ravaged San Antonio Spurs.
Averaging 118 points on 50 percent shooting, no wonder they haven’t dropped a game!
Lebron James. History was made in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals as James etched himself further in the history books, bypassing Michael Jordan’s playoff points record. He will be lining up for his seventh straight NBA Finals appearance and with only three Championships to his name, he looks more determined than ever to make it four.
Kyrie Irving stepped up when Cleveland needed him most against Boston. He scored a playoff high of 42 points in Game 4 that propelled Cleveland past Boston. In Game 5, Kyrie continued his offensive dominance combining with James for 59 points.
If Irving can continue to be an offensive threat, it will elevate some pressure from James and spread the Warriors defence.
Their roster. Whilst posing an already formidable roster led by Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, the Warriors heartbreak from last season required change. Having set a season record number of wins in the regular season (73), they couldn't get passed the Cavs in the main event.
Welcome Kevin Durant. Having settled in well early in the season, injury forced him to miss a portion of the season. His form since his return has been excellent, to the point it could be argued he is the Warriors most important player. Either way, Durant has carried his outstanding form into the playoffs averaging 25 points giving the Cavs plenty to think about.
They played twice during the regular season, each winning a game with the Warriors averaging 117 points on 49 percent shooting while Cleveland averaged 100 points at a dismal 37 percent shooting. It’s going to be a tough task for Cleveland to claim the repeat, but the all-star line-up on both sides has set up a mouth-watering Finals.
With home court advantage, I'm tipping the Warriors in seven games.
Game 1: Friday 11am