Here we go again. For the fourth consecutive year, the Golden State Warriors will take on the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. However, this isn’t the same as its been in the past. The Cavs have gotten a complete and total roster overhaul, with only five players from last season’s team remaining on the roster. Even the Warriors have made some changes to their bench. Of course, they still have their star-studded Hamptons Five lineup.
Despite all the talent, the Warriors still needed seven games to defeat the top-seeded Rockets in the Western Conference finals. Golden State played well, but it was also the biggest challenge the Warriors have faced since Kevin Durant joined forces with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Co. Besides that, they breezed through the playoffs on their way back to the finals.
The Cavaliers, on the other hand, have had a rough road back to this rematch. It took seven games in the first round against Indiana and they needed a superhuman effort from LeBron James against Boston in the conference finals, winning four of the final five games of the series to punch a ticket to the Finals. However, they’re back again and that should be seen as an accomplishment after a drama-filled season.
NBA Finals 2018 schedule
- Game 1 from Oakland: May 31, 9 p.m. ET, ABC
- Game 2 from Oakland: June 3, 8 p.m. ET, ABC
- Game 3 from Cleveland: June 6, 9 p.m. ET, ABC
- Game 4 from Cleveland: June 8, 9 p.m. ET, ABC
- Game 5* from Oakland: June 11, 9 p.m. ET, ABC
- Game 6* from Cleveland: June 14, 9 p.m. ET, ABC
- Game 7* from Oakland: June 17, 8 p.m. ET, ABC
* — if necessary
Regular-season series: Warriors took both regular-season meetings against a completely different Cleveland team that featured Dwyane Wade, Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder. Stephen Curry missed the Christmas Day meeting due to injury.
Last season’s playoff results: Warriors defeated Cavaliers in five games to win the 2017 NBA Finals.
Injury Report: Andre Iguodala (knee) missed the last three games of the conference finals with injury and is seeking a second opinion; Kevin Love (concussion) missed Game 7 of the conference finals.
Cavaliers win if:
LeBron James has been out of his mind on the court lately. If the Cavs are going to have any chance against the greatest collection of talent ever assembled, he’ll need to keep up that level of play. Considering he is averaging 34 points, 9.2 rebounds and 8.8 assists per game these playoffs, that at least feels possible. He’ll need at least some help from Love, George Hill, Tristan Thompson and Kyle Korver. If those four don’t show up then it doesn’t matter what James does. It won’t be enough.
Warriors win if:
The Warriors need to get the ball into the hands of Curry and let him go to work. Durant is incredible, but his isolation sets have had a tendency to drag down Golden State’s offense at times. The Warriors are at their best when Curry is bending a defense to his will and he needs the ball to do that. Give the ball to Curry and let him unleash the Warriors heavy 3-point shooting offense.