10 Keys in Order for Cavs to Take Down Warriors in 2017 NBA Finals | Cavaliers Nation
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10 Keys in Order for Cavs to Take Down Warriors in 2017 NBA Finals

2017 NBA Finals Preview

The Golden State Warriors blew a 3-1 lead to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals.

That phrase will simply never get old for Cleveland and their fans, as the Cavs pulled off the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history last June when they knocked off the juggernaut Warriors in Game 7 at Oracle Arena.

However, it’s time to put all of that in the rearview mirror. Golden State is out for revenge, and NBA fans will finally get to witness this long-awaited matchup.

“If Cleveland comes out of the East, I want to destroy Cleveland,” Warriors small forward Draymond Green said back in October. “No ifs, ands or buts about it. But I also know that there are steps to get to that point. If and when we get to that point, I want to annihilate them.”

In their third consecutive meeting in the NBA Finals, the defending champion Cavs and star-studded Warriors both look stronger than ever after coasting through this year’s playoffs.

“I’m sitting here once again with this franchise and being able to be a part of the NBA Finals, where our game is covered by so many different countries all over the world. It brings a spotlight to two of the best teams in our sport today. That’s what I’m more proud about and that’s the story I have right now,” Cavs forward LeBron James said on Wednesday after practice.

The 51-31 Cavs, fresh off of a dominating 4-1 series victory over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, ride into the Finals with a 12-1 record in the playoffs after also making quick work of the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors.

The 67-15 Warriors, who have their eyes set on avenging last year’s collapse in the Finals, set an NBA playoff record by going 12-0 after sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs.

Here’s the complete 2017 NBA Finals schedule, with Games 5-7 being played if necessary:

2017 NBA Finals Schedule

The Cavs, who were the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, will not have home-court advantage in the NBA Finals for the third straight year.

In what was the projected to be the Finals matchup before the season even started, here are 10 keys to success for the Cavs in order to beat the Warriors and repeat as champions.

1. LeBron James Must Outduel Kevin Durant

King James vs. KD

This is the blockbuster matchup that continues to make NBA fans’ mouths water, as two superstar forwards in the Cavs’ James and the Warriors’ Kevin Durant will clash in the NBA Finals for the second time in their respective careers.

“Our relationship is very good. Our relationship consists of if someone needed something, we can always reach out to one another. If not, then it doesn’t take away from it. We’ve always had a mutual respect of one another being competitors,” James said of Durant after Wednesday’s practice.

Ever since Durant was drafted second overall in the 2007 NBA Draft, he has not had much success against James in terms of actually winning games in head-to-head matchups.

Career Regular Season Head-to-Head Per-Game Statistics

Player W L MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% TRB AST STL BLK TOV PTS
LeBron James 14 4 38.1 10.7 20.8 .512 1.9 5.2 .376 5.6 7.3 .758 7.1 6.6 2.2 0.8 3.8 28.8
Kevin Durant 4 14 39.1 9.9 20.5 .485 2.1 5.2 .404 6.9 8.0 .861 6.8 3.7 1.3 1.1 3.3 28.9

During those 18 regular season contests against each other, James and Durant have averaged almost the exact same amount of points per game.

Career Postseason Head-to-Head Per-Game Statistics

Player W L MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% TRB AST STL BLK TOV PTS
LeBron James 4 1 44.0 10.2 21.6 .472 0.6 3.2 .188 7.6 9.2 .826 10.2 7.4 1.6 0.4 3.8 28.6
Kevin Durant 1 4 42.6 11.4 20.8 .548 2.6 6.6 .394 5.2 6.2 .839 6.0 2.2 1.4 1.0 3.8 30.6

When you do the simple math, James has compiled an 18-5 record against Durant, including four straight victories with the Miami Heat over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2012 NBA Finals.

Will the success translate to this year’s NBA Finals? That’s a big question mark, considering Durant is now surrounded by the most talented roster of his career.

Next: Show Me the Love


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