Join me Thursday as we break down numbers five through one and see if either team (Cleveland and Golden State) can turn in one of these performances as the NBA Finals kick off tomorrow. Game 2 is at 8 p.m. Sunday.
James is a three-time NBA Finals MVP, with Jordan at six the only player to win the award more often.If he can carry that momentum into the NBA Finals, he will be a key difference-maker for Cleveland's upset bid.If the Warriors lose again, will Stephen Curry become know as a choker in the Finals?
In 2015 when the teams met, Kevin Love was hurt and Kyrie Irving did not play after Game 1.
He is averaging 32.5 points per game in these playoffs, eclipsed only by the 35.3 per-game average as a spry 24-year-old in 2009. He averaged 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 7.4 assists.
The two will meet on that same court where things came to a close previous year, for Game 1 of the NBA Finals at 9 p.m. ET tonight on ABC. He's scored 30 or more points in 11 of Cleveland's 13 playoff games. With many expecting nothing less than a championship from Durant and his elite new team, a major storyline to watch is how he will fare under the extreme pressure. The Cavs didn't score for the first four minutes. "He's supposed to be soft and this, that.' And of course, Steph is light-skinned, so they want to make him out to be soft", Curry's teammate Draymond Green said recently in his podcast "Uninterrupted's Dray Day". About half of the players on both the Cavs and Warriors rosters have been brought in since the start of 2016. Starting in Game 5 previous year, the Cavs were able to overwhelm them with defense and took away the transition baskets they can usually get in droves. Thompson suffered through 3-of-16 shooting. Durant also frees Curry from the constant blitzes the Cavs have thrown his way in the past two Finals.
Before I get into individual reasons, here's why the Cavs will in the title in the short.
The Warriors entered with an average point differential in the playoffs of plus-16.3, an National Basketball Association record.
Despite being the defending champions, the Cavs are still the underdogs, a point that they don't seem to agree with.
All in all I think this series is really close.
My theory is that the Cavaliers take this series in seven games, but it should be one heck of a series and undoubtedly an unforgettable one.
If James can beat the star-studded Golden State Warriors to pick up his fourth National Basketball Association title can he once and for all be regarded as the GOAT? The teams split their two meetings in the regular season, including a Cleveland victory on Christmas with Irving hitting another game victor over Curry.
"We're always on our phones", Love said. He's now 1-7 in Game 1 and 0-6 on the road.
Of the players in this year's Playoffs to have attempted more than 53 three-pointers, only seven players have shot better than 41% - five of those are from either Golden State or Cleveland.
James has tried to deny there's a rivalry but when the two best sides meet in the NBA Finals for three straight years - it's a rivalry. The Cavs can flood the floor with three point marksmen too and have been hot this post-season beyond the line.