Thursday, June 4, 2015

What CST thinks about the NBA Finals: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors

Cavaliers in 6. 

This is going to be a crazy amazing series, I believe. My fingernails are bleeding in anticipation. The Cavs have not seen a team like the Warriors. Steph Curry blows my mind, those shots in 0.0001 seconds, the spin move breaking Chris Paul's (!) ankles, his pretty-darn-cute daughter stealing the show. And Klay Thompson. WTF? 37 points in one quarter? I'm not sure I would have thought that was possible before he pulled that out.

So basically, if Cleveland can't D up on Golden State's guards, it's over.

That said, I think they can. Kyrie's knee notwithstanding, JR Smith and Iman Shumpert have been playing excellent defense, and Coach David Blatt always has "a certain number 23" to switch on when needed. Not to mention Mr. Dellavadova. If he plays his balls-to-the-wall defense on Curry or Thompson, you never know how deep into their heads he can get.  And it's not like the Cavs shooters can't get blistering hot. JR Smith literally can get as hot as Steph Curry, just not every single day.

Then again, LeBron James is the difference. I don't see any of the LeBron stoppers on Golden State shutting him down by themselves, and when they double, if Moz and TT roll to the rim, or JR or Kyrie is open in the corner, the Cavaliers can pour points down with the best of them. And by the best, I mean the Golden State Warriors. I feel the Cavs steal Game One or Two, and close out at home in 6. My heart is there, but my head is saying the Warriors can win in 5, 6, or 7 games though.

So here we go. Because the Warriors haven't seen a team like the Cavs, either.

Cavaliers in 6
What a season its been. This time last year the Spurs humbled the Heat in the finals. Now LeBron is back in Cleveland and back in the Finals. When the Cavs made it in 2007 I was just happy they got there. I foolishly thought they could compete with the Spurs and we all know what happened. This time is different. The team is playing great defense and the shots are falling at the right time. Something doesn't feel the same this time and I mean that in a good way. The Warriors haven't played against this good of a defense this playoffs. It wont be pretty but if LeBron is focused along with the rest of the team, they will be hard to beat.  

Cavaliers in 6

Golden State is an offensive powerhouse that emerged from a Western Conference meat grinder to make the Finals. But the battered, bruised Cavaliers are the tougher team, led by a man on a mission. Lord help me, but the Cavs are going to bring Cleveland its first championship in half a century.
Warriors in 7

I'm going with my head and not my heart here. Kevin Love is out, Kyrie Irving is hurt, and I'm just not sure LeBron can do it alone. Golden State has too many weapons, and while LeBron can keep it close and win some game, it won't be enough to win it all.


Eight days of talking heads and tweets, Finals predictions out the backside, and ad nauseam-analysis. I won't add to the madness. Not because I'm tired of our culture's pre-series rituals, but because I'm not in the business of handicapping which way the ball bounces. That's my longwinded way of saying this matchup is anyone's guess.

What I know: in our CST NBA preview, I suggested that someone besides Irving or Love will be stepping up in June. Because that's what always happens in the NBA Finals--insert random role player knocking down big shots HERE. The good news for Cavalier supporters is that when LeBron is in full-tilt, you can surround him with any four starters in the Association, and he will triumph. Since LBJ was humiliated in the 2011 Finals, he has become such a Grandmaster on the court that beating him four out of seven tries is a few feats short of impossible. The Spurs seem to have the formula, nearly edging him three times, by somehow closing off passing routes before the plays develop. They bait Bron into taking good shots, if that makes sense. In Coach Pop's mind, that beats the alternative of LeBron making All-Stars out of surrounding shooters.

Still, this Warrior squad is hella deep, well-coached and they dig-in defensively at every key moment. And a 10-15 point lead against Golden State is essentially worthless. They shoot themselves back in the game so quickly, opposing teams have to wonder if they were ever winning in the first place. So I fear Steph Curry in a way that I've never feared another baller. Oh, yes, I also rooted for his Dad. Which means I've been doing this Cavs fan thing for so long and I want this so damn badly, I truly have no way of seeing straight right now. I'm sure you understand, Cleveland. CAVS BASKETBALL, TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT...COME ON CAVS!!!

Cavaliers in 7

Dreams fulfilled! Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!

Cavaliers in 6
The versatility of our guards to defend Curry and Thompson is the key.

On Vacation.
But, trust us, he likes the Cavs.