June 2, 2015 Louisville, KY. (Analyzed Sports) By: Stephen Patrick
NBA 2015 Finals Preview: Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers
The Warriors haven’t been to the NBA Finals in 40 years, while the Cavs have never won a title. LeBron James is the best player in the world and his previous trips to the finals he’s been mostly considered the favorite. This time is not the case with the Warriors. They achieved 67 wins this season. The series most people wanted to see has arrived. Let’s go past the headline of King James vs. MVP and look at the match ups.
POINT GUARD: KYRIE IRVING VS. STEPHEN CURRY
Curry has averaged 29.2 points in the playoffs while shooting 43.7 percent from 3-point range. Curry hasn’t been the same shooter since his scary fall. He’s missed 25 of his last 39 shot attempts, and went 5-for-17 from the field in his last game against The Cavaliers. His ability to get into the paint and hit his floater will be key for easy points. Kyrie Irving arrives at the NBA Finals hoping to overcome knee and foot injuries. He has been sidelined for two games in the conference finals. If can play he’s an electric matchup. Irving had the NBA’s two highest-scoring games this season, with 57 and 55 points. His ball handling is second to none and he will need to be the robin to batman (Lebron James) His defense off of screens will be critical
SHOOTING GUARD: Klay Thompson vs. Iman Shumpert/JR Smith
This one is interesting. Thompson was diagnosed with a concussion after getting kneed in the head in Game 5 against the Rockets. If the All-Star guard can be cleared to return, his shooting and defense will be needed. Klay has stepped up his defensive intensity and has turned himself into one of the better shooting guards in the league. As for the Cavs you have to look at both shooting guards as one. Shumpert is a solid defender who could get plenty of turns against Stephen Curry. His defense offset’s his offense even though he’s a decent 3 point shooter. J.R. Smith could be the x-factor of the series. His ability to heat up from three is only matched by Curry. If his head is on straight he has the ability to play like a top flight shooting guard. Cleveland has given him a breath of fresh air.
Edge: Even (if Klay is healthy Warriors)
SMALL FORWARD: Harrison Barnes vs. LeBron James
James is nearly averaging a triple-double in the conference finals and has stepped up his game with Love out and Kyrie Irving hurting. The one knock against the King is from three. He’s shooting just 17.6 percent from 3-point range in the playoffs. Barnes is one of the multiple options the Warriors have to defend James. His length could cause problems for jump shots attempts. He did score 24 points in the Game 5 clincher against Houston in the West finals. He can have an offensive outburst but the man is named King James for a reason.
POWER FORWARD: Draymond Green vs. Tristan Thompson
Green was runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year. He’s averaging 14 points and 10.8 rebounds in playoff games. The versatile Green can be an option to defend LeBron James. He’s a big that can draw defenders away from the rim with his shooting. He can also drive off the dribble and attack or pass out to one of the splash brothers. The Warriors need to figure out what to do against Thompson who stepped in for Kevin Love. He plays bigger than his size down low and his high energy is contagious He has been a force on the offensive boards. His play has helped win games with his rebounding skills leading to second chance points. He’s also shooting 59 percent.
CENTER: Andrew Bogut vs. Timofey Mozgov
Mozgov, can become the first Russian to win an NBA title. His acquisition from Denver was one of the catalysts for Cleveland’s turnaround. He provides valuable defense and rebounding. His rim protection and ability to change shots has made him possibly the most important Cavs Big Men. Bogut, the former No. 1 overall pick can get lost during games. For the most part he’s a big body and creates space down low for drives to the rims. He can be physical but he’s not particularly great at anything, with no elite skills Mozgov and the Cavs get the nod.
Andre Iguodala, Festus Ezeli, Leandro Barbosa and Shaun Livingston vs Iman Shumpert, The Warriors have a former All Star and length coming off bench. The Warriors have been one of the most productive benches all season. They are deep and a versatile bench. Shumpert, Dellavedova, and James Jones make up Cleveland’s bench. They have been big for Cleveland, but the Cavs don’t go further than that. They are gritty and do the dirty work but if foul trouble is an issue that causes the starters to get less rest time.
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