This year’s NBA Finalists aren’t synonymous with success. The Golden State Warriors will be making their first outing in the showpiece series since 1975, while the Cleveland Cavaliers have reached this point of the season for just the second time in their history.
While their back stories may not glitter, few can deny that the pair have been among the most dominant in either the regular season, postseason or both this year.
Golden State will host Cleveland in Game 1 of the series on June 4 after toppling the Houston Rockets in four, while the Cavs ended their Eastern Conference Finals matchup with the Atlanta Hawks at the earliest opportunity by sweeping them in four.
The rivalry pits the season’s MVP award winner, the Warriors’ Steph Curry, against the widely recognised best player of this generation in the Cavaliers’ LeBron James, adding yet another layer of theatre to the tussle.
Statistically, the Warriors owned the best defense in the regular season after holding opponents to 101.4 points per 100 possessions, while the Cavs have been the best in the playoffs with a rating of 101.9.
Both teams rely heavily on the three-point shot to ignite their offense and have a huge incentive to win given their recent dearth of success.
Ultimately though, it’s the Warriors’ ruthlessness on their playoff path to this point that should give them the edge.
In the tougher Western Conference, Steve Kerr’s club have overcome a range of strong outfits.
There was best young player the game has seen for over a decade in Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans.
Then they beat the best big-man pairing in the league in Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and the Memphis Grizzlies
Finally a meticulous Rockets outfit led by two of the top 10 talents in the game (James Harden and Dwight Howard) was dispatched.
Seeing off basketball’s most recognisable figure to cap it all off just seems fitting for this Warriors side.
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