Keys to the rematch: NBA Finals predictions
The 2016 NBA Finals are set to begin on Thursday between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
This year’s finals will be a rematch of last season’s, in which the Warriors claimed the championship by winning the series 4-2. The Cougar Sports Staff weighs in on their expectations and predictions for this season’s tilt.
Assistant Sports Editor Jonathan Valadez
I feel like I’m going against the grain on this one, but I think the Cleveland Cavaliers will win in six games.
I believe LeBron James is upset that Stephen Curry has garnered so much attention this season. He will use this as motivation. While this season’s Golden State Warriors team is even better than last season’s, the Cavaliers will have Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love returning, meaning the team will not rely on James Jones to play nearly 20 minutes per game.
Last year, the Cavs only used a seven-man roster in the finals, but they should have nine or 10 players in their rotation this year. I also believe the Warriors will be exhausted after their seven-game series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Cavaliers went untested in the East.
History is also favoring the Cavaliers. In the last three occasions of an NBA Finals rematch, the team who lost the series the first time won the series the following season.
Staff Writer Mervin Wright
I expect the Warriors will win in seven games because they’re a more stable team than the Cavaliers.
When you look at the Big Three of both teams, I feel that Golden State’s trio of Curry, Thompson, and Green is better than Cleveland’s James, Irving and Love. This doesn’t mean the latter won’t be up for the challenge, however.
For the Cavaliers to win a series, all three players have to play at their highest level possible, and I feel like Kevin Love can be inconsistent at times. With Golden State, one of their guys can have an off night and another will still be able to carry the team. Look no further than Klay Thompson in Game 6 covering for Stephen Curry against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
If the Cavaliers win, it’s because they have figured out how to stop Curry, Thompson and Green. Keeping Lebron under 30 points per game will be crucial for the Warriors to win the series.
Sports Editor Reagan Earnst
With a well-rested team that has blown through the Eastern Conference with relative ease, I expect the Cleveland Cavaliers to win their first NBA title this year.
I anticipate this to be a hard-fought series that the Cavaliers will eventually win in game seven. LeBron James has historically struggled to win NBA Finals series, but he seems to be playing at an entirely different level in this year’s playoffs.
Although they have played tougher competition, the Warriors have showed signs of fatigue in the late stages of the season. Warrior’s guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson rely heavily on three-point shooting for success, which could spell trouble when fatigue sets in.
Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving is not known for his defensive ability, but his quickness on the defensive end should genuinely test Curry.