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It's NBA Finals Time!

It's NBA Finals Time!
Wednesday,June 1,2016

Some things never change.



Lebron James has guided his team to the NBA Finals. That’s the sixth season in a row LBJ is in the Finals, the second straight trip with the Cleveland Cavaliers, after four Eastern Conference titles with the Miami Heat.



Another thing not to change is the team standing in the Cavs’ way as they battle to win their first ever NBA Championship - the Golden State Warriors.



Coming off a record 73-9 season, usurping Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls as the best regular season team ever, the Warriors entered the playoffs as red hot favourites, but they’ve not had it all their own way, far from it in fact.



For a team not being used to losing, giving up a game in both the first round, against the Houston Rockets, and the Conference semi-finals, against the Portland Trailblazers, caused a few raised eyebrows, but it was the Western Conference finals where Golden States fallibility was plain for all to see.



Oklahoma City took home court advantage from the Warriors, went 3-1 up in the best-of- seven series and had a home game at 3-2 to take out the top seeds, but it wasn’t to be.



Golden State showed the heart of champions to win the final three games of that series and make it back to the Finals, but they took some heavy beatings, and had to rely on some extraordinary shooting from the Splash Brothers, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, to get out of it.



In the final two games of the Western Conference finals, Steph and Klay hit 30 three pointers….in the 1986 NBA Finals, only 17 were made in total! Can they keep up that kind of amazing shot making from deep?



One thing that has changed since last year is Cleveland’s luck with injuries. Having lost their third best player, Kevin Love, in the opening round against Boston - a dislocated shoulder ruling the All-Star power forward out for the season - the Cavs lost their number two option Kyrie Irving to a broken kneecap in Game 1 of the Finals against Golden State, leaving King James to battle the top seeds almost single-handedly.



Cleveland are a lot more settled team this year, and have found many ways to win games. In the second round against Atlanta they set a new record for made threes in a game with 25, with nine different players scoring from downtown.



They can also go inside to the runaway train that is LeBron, and in Tristan Thompson have one of the best offensive rebounders around.



If they go small, TT will play center, and they may go even smaller with Love in the middle. With the Warriors the kings of small-ball though, maybe Cleveland will go big?



This time round not only are the Cavs fully fit and firing, they’re well-rested having knocked off the Toronto Raptors 4-2 in the Eastern Conference finals last week.



Those two losses to the Raptors were Cleveland’s only defeats on their way to the Finals, having swept the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks.



There’s little doubt the East has less quality, but how coming through with ease will affect the Cavs is anyone’s guess - is it better to win at a canter or to be tested to the extremes?



We’ll find out when Game One of the NBA Finals gets underway in Oakland on Thursday night/Friday morning.



The Pools are open - pick five players from the two squads to score for you in all games in the best-of- seven Finals and enter for £2, £10 or £25. It’s more fun when you’re in the Pools!



Good Luck!


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