By Anthony Davis
We’re just hours away from the 2015 NBA finals begin, the hype behind the match up between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers is still rising. It is safe to say that the hype surrounding the finals is centered on two players, Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Cleveland’s LeBron James. The opportunity to watch these two MVPs go head-to-head over the course of a seven game series has fans greatly anticipating the first game on tonight in Golden State.
Curry, the winner of the 2014-2015 Kia NBA MVP award, has led the Warriors to a franchise record 67-win regular season. The team is now set to make its first NBA Finals appearance since winning the championship in 1975. The Warriors have a deep roster, full of athletic guards and wing players who all put in as much effort on the defensive end as they do the offensive end of the court.
The Warriors dedication to defense resulted in them having the best field goal defense in the regular season, they also had two players selected to All-NBA Defensive teams. The Warriors are going to need every bit of defensive help to slow down King James, who has been on an absolute tear since the playoffs began.
Coming off of a Series against the Hawks in which LeBron averaged 30.3 points per game, 11 rebounds a game, and 9.3 assists, he is extremely focused on bringing Cleveland its first NBA championship. In his only game against the Warriors this season, James scored 42 points and grabbed 11 boards as the Cavaliers went on to win 110-99 in Cleveland.
However, these young Warriors, will be ready to challenge King James and see if his supporting staff can keep up with the depth of the Warriors. Curry is coming in averaging 29 points per game in the playoffs, but he is also supported by Klay Thompson’s 17 points per contest, as well as Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes, who have been averaging 14 and 11 points respectively throughout the playoffs.
While Green, Barnes, and Thompson will be three of the many defenders James sees throughout the series, expect the three to also play a pivotal role in the success of the Warriors offense.
While James has been carrying the Cavaliers through the playoffs, Kyrie Irving is one player that will end up having the biggest impact on the outcome of this series. He’s been hobbled throughout the playoffs with knee and foot injuries, and has still managed to show glimpses of greatness. When healthy, Irving does not have to take the back seat to any player on the court; but if he is not close to 100% look for the Cavaliers to struggle to keep up with the scoring pace that the Warriors set.
Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, and Matthew Dellavedova, all will be important role players for the Cavaliers. Shumpert and Smith, who joined the team mid-season, have both been important pieces to the Cavaliers success this post-season, and the Cavaliers will rely on both of them heavily to provide additional scoring. Thompson and Dellavedova, have emerged as two of the most scrappy players in the playoffs. Whether it is Thompson grabbing a huge offensive board, or Dellavedova playing his pestering defense against the other team’s point guard, the two leave their mark on the game every night, and are a huge reason the Cavaliers are four wins away from a championship.
Tonight the battle for the 2015 Larry O’Brien trophy commences, and it is primed to be one of the best NBA finals match-ups in years. Fans should expect to be on the edge of their seats the entire series, as these to teams go head-to-head.
The winner of the series will greatly deserve it, but as of now, fans will have to wait to see which team sets the tone in Game 1 and who will get the first win in the series.