We all knew it would be inevitable. We just couldn’t predict the postseason runs both teams are on.
June 1st features the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors meeting for the third time in a row in the NBA Finals. No other matchup has done that. The Los Angeles Lakers and Detroit Pistons split in their back-to-back series in 1988 and 1989. The Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz went toe-to-toe in 1997 and 1998, with Chicago taking both.
Now, Cleveland and Golden State accomplish the inevitable with both teams making unprecedented runs. The Cavaliers only suffered one blemish in the Eastern Conference Playoffs against the Boston Celtics. It was the only loss they experienced. The Warriors, on the other hand, swept each of their opponents with ease.
It’s a matchup we all knew would happen, considering the Warriors picked up Kevin Durant from free agency. We knew these teams would meet again when Cleveland retained their core cast besides their three guys in LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
Yet, what questions can possibly be answered about this series other than who will win this rubber match? Ironically enough, these questions revolve around the MVPs.
For starters, will LeBron James be able to carry the Cavaliers on his back once more? It’s James that becomes the catalyst for his teammates to shine. Plus, bringing Cleveland back-to-back championships (which would be his fourth) would put James in an elite list of NBA greats.
James has the easier of these questions. The harder ones belong to Golden State.
Will Stephen Curry be able to avenge last year’s loss without his general leading them? Steve Kerr stated he is unlikely to return for the NBA Finals as the Warriors’ coach; he confirmed he’s missing Game 1. Coaching duties will fall on Mike Brown who, ironically, coached James in his first NBA Finals appearance.
Curry also played last year’s Finals with a knee injury. That benefited the Cavaliers as well as any team would. Will Curry remain healthy throughout this matchup?
Lastly, this conundrum focuses on Kevin Durant.
The forward and former MVP signed a 2-year, $54 million deal with Golden State. If Durant and the Warriors aren’t successful, his opt-out option is on the table.
In other words, the Warriors need to win as well as appease Durant. He signed on to win a championship. Can Golden State get back on top with these two MVPs on their team?
As you can tell, this series has more personal stakes than professional ones. Careers and legacies are on the line more than ever, and these former MVPs are at the center of this powder keg waiting to explode.
It truly is the unstoppable force in Golden State meeting the immovable object in Cleveland. We’ll have to wait and see which side will fall. When the dust settles, there will be a definitive winner.
We may not have all our questions answered, but we will have two teams that deserve to win it all. Just sit back and watch these two groups of titans go to war.
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