On Thursday night, June 1st, the Golden State Warriors will face the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals, with Steve Kerr’s team having the home-court advantage.
That said, what exactly are we expecting to see from the two opponents?
The defending champions look unstoppable in the postseason. Although they ended the regular season in a rather disappointing way, LeBron James and company have taken over in the playoffs in their effort to win their second straight title.
James (who became the all-time leader in playoff points) has made a series of extraordinary performances, proving he is the league’s best player, while Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love act as game changers.
Concurrently, the presence of Tristan Thompson (who is very effective defensively), Deron Williams, J.R Smith and Kyle Korver, who have made the squad’s roster stronger, offers head coach, Tyronn Lue, decent solutions, both defensively and offensively.
Cleveland looks ready for the battle against the Warriors, which is the third straight one (2015, 2016, 2017), while their numbers in the playoffs are impressive as well.
Having lost only once in the postseason (12-1 record), the defending champions have scored 120.7 points per 100 possessions in the playoffs, executing very well offensively.
Moreover, they have managed to score almost 10 more points (per 100 possessions) than in the regular season, while their post-season field-goal percentage (almost 60%) is the highest in NBA history.
On the other hand, the Warriors had the league’s best offensive line in the regular season (115.9 points per game) and are equally tremendous in the postseason.
Not only are they still undefeated (12-0 record), but also decimated the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals (4-0), taking advantage of Kawhi Leonard’s serious ankle injury and looking ready to win the title for the second time in the last three years.
Although their roster is not as deep as it was in the previous two years, the presence of two-time MVP, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant as well as three-point specialist Klay Thompson and versatile forward Draymond Green has transformed Golden State into an unstoppable force that can dominate any opponent.
That said, the Warriors want to reclaim the title, one year after their unprecedented 73-9 record in the regular season, although their mission will undoubtedly be difficult against Cleveland.
Kerr’s squad also scores 115.8 points per 100 possessions in the playoffs, while their defensive performance is equally effective (just 99.1 points per 100 possessions).
Overall, the NBA Finals certainly are a highly anticipated event, as James, Irving and Love will fight against Golden State’s superstars, in a best-of-seven series that is expected to be of high quality and full of intensity.