Cavaliers Nation

Cavaliers Nation’s NBA Finals Predictions

Cavaliers Nation's NBA Finals Predictions

The NBA Finals tip off tomorrow at 9 PM E/T on ABC between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors. The Cavs feature a young, inexperienced roster led by the battle-tested LeBron James, while the Warriors feature a high-octane offense led by the duo of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

A handful of the Cavaliers Nation’s finest writers has revealed their predictions as to who they think will come out on top come mid-June. Submit your NBA Finals predictions in the comments below.

Nick Versaw

Game 1: Cavaliers
Game 2: Warriors
Game 3: Cavaliers
Game 4: Warriors
Game 5: Warriors
Game 6: Cavaliers
Game 7: Warriors

My superstitions precede me, so after much debate, I unfortunately cannot will myself to pick my beloved Cavaliers because of certain irrational fears of the ramifications of whatever potential jinx it could bring. I have been burned too many times that my oftentimes weak, yet fanatical being simply cannot handle another loss.

Ultimately, the Warriors present a potent threat to the city of Cleveland’s latest chance at sporting redemption. Splash Bros. & Co. own the deepest and healthiest roster in this year’s NBA Playoffs, making them the stiffest competition the Cavs have seen yet. From Steph Curry’s lightning-quick release to Draymond Green’s stifling defense, the Warriors absolutely have what it takes to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy this June. Is Golden State beatable? Yes. Do they Cavaliers have the firepower to give them a run for their money? Absolutely. But from the untimely loss of Kevin Love to the questionable health of Kyrie Irving, I worry the Cavs may not have what it takes to get over the massive hump of which the Warriors metaphorically encompass.

But don’t get me wrong, a loss in this situation is by no means a failure. After all, this is Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Matthew Dellavedova’s first-ever postseason appearance, with the NBA Finals being totally uncharted territory for several other key players. This team, apart from the aforementioned three, has been together for less than a year. With the exception of LeBron James and a couple older bit-part role players, this team has a young core that, with some added experience and the good graces of the injury fairies, will likely contend for titles for the foreseeable future. After all, empires are not built overnight. I’m confident the Cavs will complete the tumultuous trek to the promised land, if not this year, then sometime soon. Regardless of what happens in the coming weeks, the future is bright for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Prediction: Warriors in 7.

Bradford Ahn

Game 1: Warriors
Game 2: Cavaliers
Game 3: Cavaliers
Game 4: Cavaliers
Game 5: Cavaliers

Call me crazy, but am I the only one who doesn’t think the Golden State Warriors are much of a threat? Golden State is built on a high-octane offense and three-point shooting, neither of which NBA championship rosters are built on. To me, there are two traits that are most important in an NBA Finals series: finals experience and gritty defense. The Cavaliers are ranked No. 1 in team defense among postseason teams and have some big NBA Finals experience. Both LeBron and James Jones are headed to their fifth straight finals and don’t forget the experiences of Mike Miller, Kendrick Perkins, and Shawn Marion. All these guys have been there, and done that. How many guys on the Warriors have been to the NBA Finals? One. And he’ll be wearing a suit and writing on a whiteboard come Thursday night.

I feel like the Warriors are going to get a reality check when they run into LeBron and the Cavs. Everyone is clamoring about Cleveland’s easy path the finals (Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks), but what about the Warriors? Thus far, they have faced an eighth-seeded New Orleans Pelicans team, a gritty Memphis Grizzlies squad (similar to the the Cavs facing the Bulls), and an overrated only-good-in-the-regular-season (hi Atlanta) Houston Rockets team.

The x-factor in this series will be Kyrie Irving’s health, because believe it or not, the roster that currently surrounds King James, is more than enough to take down Golden State. If you think about it, LeBron really hasn’t been able to play with a quality big man in the NBA Finals, ever. Now he has two imposing beasts in Timofey Mozgov and Tristan Thompson to take care of the paint and has a plethora of snipers surrounding him in Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, Miller and Jones. This team was made for LeBron.

I see this series turning out just like 2012, when LeBron and the Miami Heat dismantled the high-octane, inexperienced Oklahoma City Thunder in five games. I also predict that LeBron elevates his game to a level in which we’ve never seen, which will ultimately put him comfortably atop the G.O.A.T. conversation.

Prediction: Cavaliers in 5.

Adam Helmer

Game 1: Warriors
Game 2: Cavaliers
Game 3: Warriors
Game 4: Cavaliers
Game 5: Warriors
Game 6: Warriors

Unfortunately, I think this is the series where the Cavaliers’ injuries come back to haunt them. The Warriors will pose the biggest test offensively and defensively the Cavs have seen so far, and on top of that, the Warriors are the healthiest team in the playoffs. Meanwhile the Cavs are running an extremely tight rotation and almost everyone on the roster has some sort of limp, strain, or other injury.

Nobody is slowing Steph Curry down in this series, and the Cavs best hope is that a close to healthy Kyrie Irving can mirror him in offensive production. The threat of Draymond Green from outside could impact Tristan Thompson’s defense on the interior, and leave giant lanes for Curry, and Klay Thompson to attack.

Lastly, the Warriors actually have a large list of bodies to throw at LeBron James unlike every other team the Cavs have faced on their path to the finals. With Harrison Barnes, Andre Iguodala, and Draymond Green on the roster, the Warriors won’t be able to stop James to be certain, but they might be able to slow him down for the first time in the playoffs.

If the Cavs were healthy in this situation, I would feel very comfortable taking them over the Warriors, but unfortunately that’s not the case and I see the Warriors winning the series in a very competitive, physical NBA Finals.

Prediction: Warriors in 6.

Matt Mramer

Game 1: Warriors
Game 2: Cavaliers
Game 3: Cavaliers
Game 4: Cavaliers
Game 5: Warriors
Game 6: Cavaliers

A finals matchup with the Warriors was what I was pulling for throughout the playoffs and now that it’s here, I’m preparing for the best series we’ve seen this postseason. Obviously we all know the big story lines (Curry vs. LeBron, Kerr vs. Blatt), but there is so much more going on in this series.

Turnovers will be critical for both teams as both the Cavs and Warriors are very dangerous in transition. Cutting down on live-ball turnovers will be key if the Cavs want to be crowned NBA Champions as they turned the ball over 16 times in two contests against Golden State this season.

The two teams split the season series 1-1, but it’s worth noting that LeBron James didn’t play in the Cavaliers loss. Stephen Curry is as close to unguardable as you’ll find in this league so it will be critical for Cleveland to ensure nobody else on the Warriors gets into rhythm.

Double-teaming or scheming to stop Curry isn’t the best way to stop the Warriors. The only way to keep Golden State from going on explosive runs and pulling away in games is to cut off Curry’s supporting cast. Guys like Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, the Cavs need to find a way to keep them ineffective on the offensive end.

Cleveland’s team defense ranks first among playoff teams, but scoring is going to be the deciding factor in the Cavaliers’ success. The Cavs could win a game scoring 90 points against teams like the Bulls and Hawks, but it’s going to take between 100-110 points a game to compete with the Warriors. The offensive proficiency of Golden State could spell trouble for Cleveland, but having a lockdown defender like Iman Shumpert on the perimeter becomes all the more crucial in the finals.

All in all, I think Cleveland is playing some of their best basketball all year and if Kyrie Irving can recover in the 10 days off between series, I see them knocking off the winners of the Western Conference. I’ve got the Cavs in six games and the first championship coming to Cleveland in over 50 years.

Prediction: Cavaliers in 6.

Brad Sullivan

Game 1: Warriors
Game 2: Cavaliers
Game 3: Warriors
Game 4: Cavaliers
Game 5: Warriors
Game 6: Cavaliers
Game 7: Cavaliers

Even without Kevin Love and (for the most part) Kyrie Irving, the Cavaliers were able to sweep the Atlanta Hawks, which gives them plenty of momentum heading into the NBA Finals. Any fears of the rust returning that surfaced in the first game of the Chicago series should be wiped out, since Golden State will not have played for a full week.

Irving’s ability to stay healthy in this final stretch will likely be the difference in the final result, since he’ll be trying to keep Stephen Curry in check. In the end, the two teams match up fairly evenly, but the Cavs hold the edge when it comes to players with finals experience.

Prediction: Cavaliers in 7.

Comments

comments

You must be logged in to post a comment Login