February 15, 2015; New York, NY, USA; Western Conference guard Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors (30) drives against Eastern Conference forward LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers (23) during the second half of the 2015 NBA All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The NBA Finals. It was simply meant to be: the Eastern Conference’s best team, and the one most expected pre-season, the Cleveland Cavaliers, will square off against the Western Conference’s number best team, and the best team overall this season, the Golden State Warriors, in the NBA Finals.
After months of debating and arguing who truly is the best team in the NBA, which started burning after the Cavs trades in mid-January, these two teams will now settle things, with Game One tipping off on Thursday Night in the Oracle.
Both teams have had quite different paths to get to the NBA Finals. The Warriors had to battle through some young, talented and differently styled teams in the West. The young, Anthony Davis led New Orleans Hornets were a mere appetizer. The rough and tumble, grind it out Memphis Grizzlies put up a deft fight. The Houston Rockets, with their analytics and James Harden led offense, were less of a battle than we expected but the games were tough.
The Cavs cruised with sweeps in the 1st Round and the Eastern Conference Finals. In between was their toughest series against the Chicago Bulls. Both the Boston Celtics and the Bulls tried to play physical to contend with the more talented Cavs’ team. The Hawks hoped their system and shooting would help overcome their weaknesses. All were mistaken but in their own ways helped prepare the Cavs for the NBA Finals.
The clash of play-styles between the two teams is extremely intriguing. The Cavs have had an amazing defensive run through the playoffs, even if you adjust for their weaker offensive opponents. Their offense is led by isolation and pick and roll that lead to penetration. The Warriors’ have a solid defense but are buoyed by their hot like lava offense behind shooters Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Much like playing against Peyton Manning, the Warriors offense often puts pressure on the opponents offense to keep up.
This series also presents mouth-watering individual match-ups at each position. How will Kyrie Irving play Curry? Will Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith get more time defending Klay or Curry? How will Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes and Andre Iguodala look to slow down LeBron James? Will Tristan Thompson‘s game continue to explode on the national stage? And which tough, rugged defensive center will impact the game more?
Let’s explore which team has the advantage at each position.
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