It was never really supposed to go to a Game 7. When the Golden State Warriors had a commanding 3-1 NBA finals lead by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 4, everyone thought the biggest story would be who on the Warriors would win MVP. But the Cavs had other plans.
The Cavaliers took advantage of the Draymond Green suspension and stole Game 5 on the road. Then last Thursday, they dominated the Warriors for every minute of Game 6 and successfully tied up the series to everyone’s surprise.
So tonight we have a Game 7, where anything is possible as every NBA team knows. Now experts are balking at predicting what will happen in one of the strangest NBA finals in recent history. But what we can look at is how these two teams match up based on the first six games of the series.
On offense is you just mention LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, the Cavaliers should get a 10/10 rating on their play. James & Irving both scored 41 points in Game 5, which is a NBA Finals first. James showed his mettle once again by scoring 41 points in Game 6, which had a second half stretch where one could say that he was mostly responsible for nearly all of his team’s offense.
In that half Irving only scored a 23 points in the game. So as of today there’s no reason to think that James isn’t capable of being just as forceful and dominant in Game 7.
It’s obvious that the Cavaliers do not want to have to rely on James putting up 40+ points in his third straight finals game to win, but right now they’ll do anything to take the game. They absolutely have to get more offense from James’s teammates.
Players such as Tristan Thompson have pulled more than their weight this series, particularly around the basket, players like Kevin Love, Iman Shumpert and Timofey Mozgov have been duds and non-factors when it counted. But then again, that’s why they are not superstars.
One thing experts and fans alike have to admit is that the concept of “momentum” doesn’t meam anything in this series. Every time a team looks like they have taken control of the series, the opposing team seems to muster up the courage and guts to win the very next game.
So if fans think that Cavs have momentum going into Game 7 that really means nothing. But what the Cavaliers can rely on is their confidence. They feel and look like a team who knows who they are as a group, and they also are well aware that they can beat the Warriors on the road in an elimination game, and that could count for something.
Everyone in the league is secretly asking themselves “What the heck is wrong with Stephen Curry?” That’s really the billion dollar question right now for the Warriors since he allowed the Cavs to come back and win in Game 5 and 6.
Curry has struggled as a shooter in those games, and he’s been an inconsistent as a ball-handler. If you can believe it he has almost as many turnovers as he has assists in this series. But as inconsistent as he has been, he not as bad as teammate Harrison Barnes who is 2 for his last 22 field goal attempts and he went scoreless in Game 6.
There is good news for Golden State since Klay Thompson, is proving to be a player who can carry the offense of the team when Curry doesn’t show up. Why? He has scored more points in this postseason than anyone else.
In the last round, losses to the Oklahoma City Thunder made the Warriors look less than invincible, and put a dent in their home record at Oracle Arena, which is still a very tough place to play for opposing teams.
The crowd excitement and noise alone should intimate the visitors so they need to take that element and make it work to their advantage. But in the last feew days the Warriors have looked out of sync, in ways they hadn’t really failed in all season long.
Right now Curry looks uncharacteristically frustrated, especially when he picked up a technical and got tossed from the game in the 4th quarter, for throwing his mouthpiece into the stands after fouling out of Game 6.
Still, it would take a lot to go wrong for the Warriors to have a third game go wrong. For the Warriors to win, they’re just going to have to forget their downfalls, screw-ups and failures which got them to this point. The intimidating thing for both teams will be that both will have to treat Sunday’s game like it’s their entire season. Because in actuality it is.
Our Pick: Warriors win championship at home, 116-105