Golden State Warrior guard Steph Curry and Cleveland Cavalier forward LeBron James finished first and third respectively in this season's MVP NBA voting. Tonight, they will lead their teams in Game 1 of the best of seven NBA Finals. After long seasons and three playoff rounds, both squads have had well over a week to recover and prepare for the Finals. Cavs guard Kyrie Irving is still hobbled by tendonitis in his knee and Warriors guard Klay Thompson has had some symptoms of a concussion suffered in the last game against the Rockets. Contrary to reports and most of teams that were in the playoffs, I'm at full strength and will be able to view all of the games with a beer in one hand a remote in the other.
Seriously, though, this should be a very interesting and exciting series. We have unquestionably the best player of his generation playing in his fifth consecutive Finals against a jump shooting team led by MVP Steph Curry. It seems like a year ago when the Warriors fell behind the Memphis Grizzlies 2 -1 before rebounding for three straight wins. What's important about that series is that the Grizzlies were able to take Curry and his running mate, Klay Thompson, out of their games and bring into doubt their ability to shoot their way to a championship. If I'm Cavaliers coach Dave Blatt, the game film of those two Warriors losses would be must see TV for him and his team. The Grizzlies were able to use a great defender, Tony Allen to disrupt Golden States' long range shooting. Unfortunately, Allen sustained an injury and was unable to contribute in the same way for the remainder of the series.
For Cavs to be successful, I believe the key is for them to control or limit Klay Thompson's contribution from the outside. That could potentially put additional pressure on Steph Curry to carry the team, one that has no players with Finals experience. LeBron James, making his fifth appearance in a row and sixth overall series to win it all, has exhibited the ability to lead a team by putting them on his shoulders and taking them to victory. One thing that's especially worth noting is that James' teams have won a road game in 22 consecutive series. If that history holds, then the Warriors will have to win at least one game in Cleveland. The Warriors haven't shown much difficulty in winning away from home, so I think they can do that.
A lot of people are picking Cleveland in six games, predicting a Cavs' clinching victory at home. I believe this will be a very close and entertaining series. If the Cavaliers don't control Curry AND Thompson, I think they'll go down in six. However, I can also see it going the other way if LeBron James shuts down Thompson and J.R. Smith is able to knock down threes. I'm hoping to enjoy it either way and rooting for James to get his third title.
Don't forget to check out my new book, "Roughing the Passer - A PK
Frazier Novel" and my first, "Illegal Procedure - A PK Frazier Novel",
available in print and e-formats at Amazon.com, iBooks and Smashwords.