The 2016 NBA Finals:
Key Points to Ponder
By Jaime Gonzalo
The Golden State Warriors overcame a 3-1 losing series to set themselves up against the Cleveland Cavaliers for the 2nd time in a span of 2 years. Last year was quite disappointing though, as Cleveland came in with a much depleted line-up. The Warriors would eventually win the series 4-2, but it still wasn’t enough to silence the critics. Today, the fans get what they’ve clamored for. This year has turned out to be a rematch of last year—only this time it’s going to be much more exciting since both teams will be equally matched. Here are some key points to ponder for the upcoming finals.
8. A whole new ball game
Unlike last year, the Cavs are at full force. Not only will Irving and Love add to the team’s offense, they will also add to their team’s depth, allowing the head coaches to manage his players’ minutes properly. (If you recall, last year LBJ was basically run down by the Warrior defense. You really can’t ask a player to almost singlehandedly take out a team of the Warrior’s caliber—it just won’t happen. Kudos to his valiant effort last year though.)
Will they be able to contain the splash brothers and the rest of GSW this time around? That didn’t seem the case during the regular season wherein they succumbed to GSW over the course of two games—the last one resulted in a humiliating 132-98 defeat. This are the finals though, and it’s really up to whoever steps up. Will it be the Cavs or the Warriors this year? We’ll soon find out.
7. Back to basics
We know that both teams are extraordinarily good at offense, but how will they cope with defense? The Cavs need to contain Steph Curry and Klay Thompson early on if they don’t want to be chasing an impossible game. At the same time, the Warriors can’t just triple team LBJ like they did last year because that would leave the dangerous Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love open. In terms of scoring, it looks like the winner will be whoever will be able to shut out the other. It’s time for the players to dig deep and showcase how much they really want this ring—and it starts with defense.
6. Consistency is key
Consistency will be key throughout this finals series. Most of the Warriors were pretty consistent in the WCF against OKC, with the exception of Curry who was battling an injury. The Cavs, on the other hand, have been rather shaky, with LBJ seeming to be the only consistent player on his team. Irving has been pretty bad throughout these playoffs and it appears that he’s aware of the fact—he needs to step up and shine if they want to win.
During the regular season, the Warriors also proved that they could exploit Love defensively and that’s going to be a big problem for the Cavs in the finals. That said, if Steph and Klay don’t “show up” to the finals then it could be a really quick series for the Cavs. It all boils down to consistency at this point, and the more prepared team throughout the whole series will undeniably end up as champions.
5. Will Kevin Love decide to “show up?”
As previously stated, Love was exploited defensively by the Warriors during the regular season. The Warriors were able to play around him and make use of their deadly shooters to run away with both games. Before Love even starts thinking of offense, he has to be able to stay on the floor defensively. The Cavs need big games from their big man, consistently. If he can contain the Warriors this time, then the Warriors have a very big problem.