Welcome to the Truda Report everybody. Tonight is the start of the NBA Finals, featuring the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors for the fourth straight year. It is quite obviously a lopsided matchup, but I'll break down what I think will eventually happen and what'll guide both teams to victory. Make sure to share this article as it helps TTR grow, and make sure to comment any questions or topics you'd like to hear about.
Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers:
I think that the biggest thing to understand when looking at this series is that nothing is a given. Injuries happen, sloppy play happens, and miracles happen. A family member of mine reminded me of a Finals not too long ago where there was a situation sort of similar to this one, when the Shaq-Kobe Lakers (the heavy, heavy, favorites) were stunned by the Detroit Pistons, who were led by Chauncy Billups. The Lakers housed four future Hall of Famers, and yet couldn't win the series. What I see in this series is four Warriors Hall of Famers, and one LeBron James. LeBron, being LeBron, can pull this off if the Warriors aren't careful.
Along those same lines, I think that the ball is in Golden State's court right now; they can either get together as a team and say "We are going to sweep this pathetic Cavs roster," or they can lose interest, take their position for granted, and find themselves tied 2-2 in a week and a half. I see the Warriors entering this series with the former mindset, but we've seen this team lose interest this year, costing them games. I think the media's doubting of the Warrior's dynasty after a close call in Houston will inspire a killer mindset in the Warriors though, so I'll let you know right now, I have them winning in five games. I think it has to be pointed out though, that teams in their position have made terrible mistakes in the past.
Now that my digression is out of the way, I'll talk about what I see as being the keys to victory for both teams. On the Warriors end of things, I think it's simple: play defense. LeBron is going to be LeBron, but it's his supporting cast that will decide games. If the Warriors can close out on the Cavs three point shooters and not allow James any help, then there is no way Cleveland comes away with this series. Kyle Korver can be deadly and change the course of games, so making sure he and the other shooters (like my man J.R. Swish) don't heat up is important.
The Warriors also have to avoid doing something I talked about in a previous post, which is playing hero ball. Kevin Durant had a ton of isolation plays against the Rockets, breaking the fluid ball movement and three point shooting tendencies we always see out of the Warriors. That can't happen in this series, and the more the Warriors play their game, the more likely they are to win. Someone will be hot every night so keeping the ball moving will ensure that everyone gets a few wide open looks, and the hot hand gets more quality looks. I'm okay with Durant getting the iso call when it's time for a dagger, but otherwise I think more ball movement gives the Warriors a win.
On the Cavaliers end of things I think one thing and one thing only decides this series: three point shooting. LeBron James is a playmaker, and his ability to dish out the ball when driving to the basket to open shooters is incredible. If the supporting cast can knock down those shots it takes some of the scoring load off of James, allowing him to spend more energy on the defensive end. That would be huge for the Cavs since they'll need all of the help they can get trying to stop the four All Stars of Golden State.
Since I feel bad about being so concise with the key for the Cavs victory, I'll mention something that I think will help Cleveland immensely this series. His name is Caughta Cheater...wait sorry Tristan Thompson. Thompson, despite his complicated off court love life, is a beast on the basketball court, and I think one of the best offensive rebounders in the game. He's also a bruiser and a big body, which Golden State has trouble defending against. When Houston said they were built specifically to beat Golden State, a big part of that system was Clint Capela. Having a dominant center against the Warriors, who have a serious hole at center, is a big plus, and I think Thompson could have a big series. Part of the reason he's on such an expensive contract is because of his great play in the Finals against the Warriors a couple years ago, so I think getting him the ball on offense and his defensive presence could be huge.
Just to reiterate what I said earlier, I see the Warriors taking home the Championship in five games. I think that both teams are capable of winning the Finals, and what I said about the Cavs could very easily happen, but I'm not willing to pick against possibly the best scoring lineup ever created. I think that the keys I brought up for the Warriors are much more attainable for them than those I brought up for Cleveland, just because of what I've seen so far this year, making me much more inclined to take Golden State in a lopsided victory. Hopefully I'll have time to break down a lot of the games as this series progresses, but if not at least you can keep an eye out on how what I've brought up impacts the series.
High School Senior from Connecticut obsessed with sports stats, facts, and management.