The 2015 Finals are the first where I truly do not have a rooting interest – a dog in the fight, if you will. Both the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors are great teams with great guys. They also provide the media and fans with great storylines.
First of all, who doesn’t like the story of LeBron James leading his “hometown” Cavs back to the NBA Finals after winning a couple of rings in Miami? Sure no one outside of Miami liked the way he left Cleveland, but if LeBron delivers the city of Cleveland its first championship in 51 years, he would be considered a god.
And who doesn’t love Stephen Curry? He is about to be the new face of the NBA, with his State Farm commercials to boot (with the assist from Chris Paul, pun intended). The fact he comes from a small school that made one of the greatest Cinderella runs in NCAA Tournament history, not to mention being the son of a former NBA player (Dell Curry).
It’s a shame that a team has to lose this Finals, but at least one of these teams has a great chance of making it back next season. But that said…
Cleveland has been on a roll in the playoffs, losing only two games to this point (12-2 postseason record). LeBron is arguably playing his best basketball in recent memory, leading a team mostly comprised of castoffs to the brink of a championship. Star point guard Kyrie Irving’s gimpy knee and Kevin Love being sideline by a shoulder injury make LeBron’s exploits much more impressive.
The Cavs role players have been stellar. Tristan Thompson has been a monster on the boards. He has also been a cleanup man along with Timofey Mozgov and has been an excellent rim protector.
Speaking of Mozgov, how about my Knicks castoffs? Collectively the trade that brought in Mozgov, Iman Shumpert,and the enigmatic J.R. Smith saved the Cavs season.
And last but not least, Matthew Dellavedova is one of the scrappiest (and to some dirtiest) player I have seen in quite some time.
Golden State counters Cleveland’s grit with firepower and the ability to run any team out of the gym. Curry and Klay Thompson alone could easily combine for 60 points on any given night. Plus there is that Draymond Green cat who not only is a terror on the boards, but he is a walking double-double and could easily pour in 20+ points when called upon.
The Warriors are also a lot deeper than the Cavs. Andre Iguodala leads the second unit. You read that right, he COMES OFF THE BENCH. Shaun Livingston, Festus Ezeli, and Leandro Barbosa help keep the Warriors rolling on offense.
Even though Golden State is the better team (and better coached) on paper, I do not think LeBron is going to be denied.
There is something special going on with this Cavs team. Their role players are playing out of their minds. Hell, watching Smith staying within himself and becoming a big contributor to the team is amazing in and of itself. As long as head coach David Blatt lets LeBron coach this team and stays the hell out of his way, the Cavs will shock the world (sort of).
Prediction: Cavs in 6.