The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors are on a collision course for the third straight year in the NBA Finals. Both teams advanced to their respective Conference Finals with an immaculate 8-0 record in their first two playoffs series. The Cavaliers are waiting for the winner in the Washington/Boston series while the Warriors will face the perennial contenders San Antonio Spurs.
The first time these two teams met in the 2015 NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors ended a 40-year title drought with a Game 6 win. The following year, LeBron James led his team from a 3-1 deficit to give Cleveland their first ever championship.
These two teams are playing miles ahead of competition and I doubt it if their next round opponents will be more than just speed bumps to the inevitable conclusion of another Cavs/Warriors series. They simply have been dominant. The Warriors, in their first 8 playoff games, have won by a whopping 16.5 points per contest, The Cavaliers have trounced opponents by nearly 10 points per game on their way to 8 wins.
Both teams have had a week to rest and regroup while their prospective opponents battle it out, giving them an even bigger advantage come the Conference Finals. Aside from retaining their Big Three, the Cavs reloaded with the addition of Deron Williams and Kyle Korver while the Warriors added Kevin Durant, some say unfairly, to their already loaded line-up. I guess it really is unfair when you add the 2nd best player in the league (behind LeBron James) to what can be considered the best team in league history which posted a 73-9 win-loss record last year.
If the match-up comes to fruition, this will be the first time in league history that the same two teams will meet again in the Finals for the third straight time. There are pundits who say that the dominance of these two teams are hurting the league but to my mind, this is great. There is much drama surrounding these teams led by the best players on the planet. We should expect more fireworks even this early, given these two teams’ distaste for each other.
Already the psy-war is starting. The Warriors’ enforcer Draymond Green has expressed his disappointment over the lack of opponents in the East versus the Cavs. He is basically saying the Cavs are having an easier journey through the playoffs. The Cavs, meanwhile, are already setting their sights on Golden State. LeBron has said it doesn’t matter who they are playing in the East.
A Warriors-Cavaliers Finals rematch would feature some ridiculously good basketball. A win for either team would have repercussions for years to come. A win by the Cavs means title No. 4 for James, inching closer to Michael Jordan’s 6 championships and the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) title. A win by the Warriors would cement their dynasty and make their superstars stick together for years to come.
SIDELINES. While all of basketball is anticipating another Warriors-Cleveland Finals, the San Antonio Spurs remain contenders and may just pull off a surprise. In the last ten years, the Spurs have won 2 titles including 5 Western Conference Finals appearances. They have been the epitome of consistency despite ageing stars and the retirement of Hall-of-Fame players like Tim Duncan.