We have waited since December 25th to see this matchup in a seven game series.
KD versus King James.
The Baby Faced Assassin Steph Curry versus Uncle Drew Kyrie Irving.
Team Red versus Team Blue.
Cleveland versus Golden State
This is a series we have been waiting too long for and now we are only 24 hours away from the biggest matchup of the sports season. But who wins? Who has the advantage? And how will it end? This is my Sports to Watch Special: The 2017 NBA Finals Trilogy.
Now to begin this, I am going to judge this off of the December 25th matchup and the play of both teams in the playoffs so far. So lets get into the matchups and who has the advantage.
Advantage: Kevin Durant (for 36 minutes)
Analysis: As a LeBron fan, I would be remiss to not say Kevin Durant is not balling out of his mind in these playoffs. Now thats not to say James isn’t, but KD is playing like a man on a mission. So basing this off the playoffs and the christmas game, Kevin Durant is going to be special in these playoffs – until the 4th quarter. I think that LeBron is going to keep pace with Durant and once it hits the 4th quarter, LeBron and KD will cancel each other completely out. Now where LeBron has the advantage is that his style of play will give him the overall edge as he can drive to the paint and dish it out to the perimeter to hit open shots. So by that standard, Kevin Durant will have the advantage until the fourth quarter where both King James and the Grim Reaper will cancel each other.
Advantage: Kyrie Irving
Analysis: I know what a lot of Steph Curry fans are going to say, “oh Kyrie is nowhere near better than him” or “Steph was hurt all series last year”. So where were those excuses two years ago when Steph wasn’t that good in the finals and got outplayed by Kyrie in game one of the 2015 NBA Finals before he went down? Yeah I thought so. To me, Kyrie has the advantage simply because Kyrie can guard Steph and Steph can’t guard Kyrie. Which means you are sacrificing him on defense to a bigger 2-guard, whether that be Derron Williams or JR Smith. Now neither are in the league of Curry but it leaves some defensive gaps in Golden States defense. Sure Curry might go for 30, but if Kyrie can take over a game the same way he did last year and in these NBA Finals, this advantage will stay with Uncle Drew.
Advantage: Cleveland Cavaliers
Analysis: Why Golden State has both Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, Cleveland isn’t an easy slouch themselves. And looking at things from a matchup perspective, Cleveland only loses in the Draymond versus Love matchup. Everywhere else, Cleveland has the upper hand. Marksman from outside? Ill take Kyle Korver over Klay. Big Men to play Center? Tristan Thompson will crash the boards. Experience and health off the bench? Cleveland again.
Cleveland in six games
Now a lot of people are going to try and say that Golden State is too stacked to lose a series to LeBron James and the Cavs this year. And on paper, you would be right. But this isn’t on paper, this is real. And in the real, Golden State is going to lose this series. I pointed this out during my piece last summer on why Kevin Durant’s move to Golden State will not equal a title instantaneously, and nothing has swayed me from that. Here is why: can KD guard LeBron going to the rim by himself? No, so that pulls over Javel McGee or Zaza Paschulia to double LeBron. LeBron can then dump it to Love or Tristan Thompson, getting them in a rhythm to score. It also causes both McGee or Zaza to get in foul trouble, sitting them on the bench, and moving Green to the center spot, which spells even more trouble for them.
Now Golden State could run them out the gym but if what I said earlier is true and Kyrie puts a momentarily halt to Steph scoring, Klay will be forced to come out of a cold slump and make shots. I think Cleveland can turn the series in either games 1, 2 or game 5. If Cleveland steals one of those games, in particular game 1, even more pressure falls on Golden State. I would not be surprised if this went seven, but I think a mountain’s worth of pressure falls on the Warriors. Cleveland goes in with house money and will win this series.
Well what are your predictions? Leave a comment below.