By Griffin Hill
The Cavs have arrived exactly where I expected them too, and most people believe they have reached their limit. This is a fair assumption, but frankly, a Warriors sweep would shock me. LeBron has accomplished more this season than either of his championship seasons in Miami, or in his 2016 Finals win for Cleveland. I don’t believe this next-level play is going to stop now. Expect the king to do anything but hand this series to Golden State, and accept the loss before the fun has started. Instead, we will see James’ best Finals performance yet, which seems nearly unreachable considering his previous appearances. From the preseason to now, I think this has been the best season of basketball in over a decade, and think the end will be special…. Cavs in 7. Crazy, right?
Yes, it may seem crazy, and no, I am not oblivious to the fact that the Cavs, with Kyrie, lost in five games last season to the Warriors same core four stars. I also know this Cavs team could possibly be the worst defensive team LeBron has ever had to play alongside, and have struggled from behind the arc the entire playoffs.
The Warriors have the edge in every single statistical category, and are the biggest NBA Finals favorites since 1998, sitting comfortably at -1000 to win the series. They are also favored by 13 points in tonight’s contest, and that is without their “LeBron stopper,” Andre Iguodala. Clearly, everything adds up to equal the Dubs winning their third Larry O’Brien trophy in four seasons. So what leads me to believe the Cavaliers even stand a chance?
First of all, I truly believe this Warriors team is more vulnerable than their team from a season ago, and that is because of the changing lineups throughout the season. Injuries have been a problem for this roster, and continue to be with Iguodala unable to go for tonights game. While this still doesn’t stack up to a single Warriors loss, what the Cavs are going to throw out will.
Cleveland just announced they will start both big men tonight, Kevin Love and Tristian Thompson which is what I expect them to do each game of the series. But where the fun comes in, is the Cavs substitutions. Playing seven guys isn’t going to beat Golden State, so the Cavs are going to try everything angle. Expect to see many combinations of 5 out on the floor.
The length of Cedi Osman should be utilized to max this series. With a 7’0 wingspan, Osman is a fresh body that can be thrown Kevin Durant for a good two to three minutes giving guys like Love and Green a chance to rest. Also, Larry Nance should see an up in his minutes after a few impressive performances against the Celtics. Nance’s physicality will be a huge factor in keeping Green and Durant off the boards, and if he can do that, the Cavs should’t have trouble rebounding over the Dubs.
The Shooters will be important too. I want to see Hood, Korver, and Smith all see good minutes for all SEVEN games. Also, Kevin Love coming back from injury to start in game one is best case scenario for Cleveland. Regardless of what people say, Kevin Love is an extremely important piece in LeBron’s not-so-deep supporting cast, and a big series out of him is coming. Mark my word.
All of these players are the little parts that will help everything together, but in the end it is going to come down to the King. LeBron is ready to have the most historic NBA Finals performance the world has seen, and possibly the best championship performance in all of sports history.
Here is how I expect it all to play out game one through seven.
Game 1: Cavs
Game 2: Warriors
Game 3: Cavs
Game 4: Warriors
Game 5: Warriors
Game 6: Cavs
Game 7: Cavs
The 2018 NBA Finals are here…
Cavs-Warriors part four…
It’s go time!