Photo Credit: International Business Times
While the official NBA Finals matchup is not yet set in stone, many NBA fans have already drawn the conclusion that the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers will be battling for the NBA championship for the third consecutive season. Here are some key things to know well beforehand so that you are prepared when this matchup is, in fact, all lined up and ready to begin.
1. It’s happening.
More than likely, as in close to a 99.9% chance, Cavaliers-Warriors will be the NBA Finals matchup once again.
LeBron James has made the NBA Finals in six straight seasons, and the Warriors are historically great. Neither team has lost in the postseason through over two rounds this year, with the Cavaliers being 9-0 and the Warriors being 10-0 (as of May 17th).
2. There will be 3-1 lead jokes no matter what happens.
Over the past 11 months, there has been nothing like looking at an ESPN Facebook post about golf or tennis and seeing someone trying to crack a joke about how the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals last year.
No team had even done what the Warriors did last year, and they did it in such a dramatic fashion. They earned 73 wins, the most in NBA history, and then became the first team to blow a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. You can bet that this will be fixated upon by NBA fans, mostly on the Cavaliers’ side, whether the Warriors become 2017 champs or not. So be warned.
3. In addition to intense competition, there will be hate.
Remember the hate Kevin Durant got for his “weak” move of signing with the super-team Warriors as opposed to staying with the Oklahoma City Thunder? Now imagine that hate multiplied by 100, seeing as how an NBA Finals berth this season will put him closer than he’s ever been to winning his first championship, his ultimate goal.
I believe an athlete should be able to choose the path he sees best fit to suit his career goals. And KD did that (and on July 4th, Independence Day, nonetheless). But because it wasn’t what the fans wanted, they chose to hate. For many “haters”, that wound of Durant signing with Golden State is still fresh, so expect a lot of hate towards the Warriors as they look to win their second title in three years and KD in particular as he looks to finally become an NBA champion.
4. Cavaliers vs. Warriors = Vindication vs. Revenge
A third straight NBA Finals matchup between the Cavaliers and the Warriors would be much, much more than just a third straight NBA Finals matchup between the Cavaliers and the Warriors.
When the Cavaliers knocked off the 73-win Warriors last season, there was still doubt that Cleveland was, in fact, the best team in the NBA. The spotlight was on the Warriors all season, and many were reluctant to accept a change in that regard. The Cavaliers will be looking to erase all of that doubt this season with their second championship in a row and in franchise history.
When the 73-win Warriors blew a 3-1 lead to lose to the Cavaliers last season, they suffered one of the most embarrassing “chokes” in sports history. No doubt that the Warriors, particularly Draymond Green, who was suspended for Game 5 of last year’s championship, will be out for revenge this season.
5. There will be (a) significant, unpredictable and uncontrollable series-changing occurrence(s).
In 2015, Kevin Love was unable to play in the NBA Finals with an injury. Kyrie Irving then got injured himself in Game 1, and the Cavaliers went on to lose to the Warriors in six games after leading 2-1.
In 2016, Stephen Curry was injured early on in the playoffs and never truly recovered. Draymond Green was also suspended for Game 5, the game that sparked the Cavaliers’ three-game winning streak to win the title.
What does 2017 have in store? These two teams have produced anything but conventional NBA Finals series over the past two years, so don’t expect anything different this season. Expect the unexpected.
While the idea of the exact same NBA Finals matchup for three consecutive seasons may be boring to some, there are still plenty of storylines to hold the interest of the audience. So what if the teams are the same? If they’re the best two teams in the NBA, which they are, they deserve to be battling for the NBA title. With the two great shows they have put on in the 2015 and 2016 championship, no one should be complaining if and when they meet again this season.