Cavaliers vs. Warriors – NBA Finals 2016 Preview
The NBA Finals 2016 offer us a second straight championship showdown between LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers and Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors.
Golden State got the best of Cleveland in last year’s finals winning the series 4-2, and the Warriors are once again favored of hoisting the trophy this year.
SERIES PRICE AS OF JUNE 1
Golden State Warriors -200
Cleveland Cavaliers +170
Road To The Finals
The Cavaliers were perfect in this season’s playoffs until they traveled north of the border and dropped a pair of games at Toronto in the Eastern Conference Finals. They bounced back with a 116-78 win home at Quicken Loans Arena before clinching the series with a dominant 113-87 win at Toronto in Game 6.
The Warriors have experienced plenty of trouble in both single matchups and series. They were forced to battle back from a 3-1 deficit against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals and they’ve lost at least one game in each series here in the postseason. The Warriors have been forced to pull off some remarkable comebacks, trailing by double-digits countless times.
Both the Warriors (44.6) and the Cavaliers (43.0) rank near the middle of the pack for rebounds per game here in the playoffs, but the Cavs’ have superior numbers when it comes to rebounds allowed. The Warriors have allowed opponents 46.6 boards per game on average while the Cavs have limited opponents to a postseason best 37.1 rebounds per game.
Not that surprising that Cleveland has better rebounding stats, and we all saw how the Thunder dominated the boards against the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. That’s something Steve Kerr will need to adress in order to win this series.
Golden State has averaged more points than any other team in the NBA in the playoffs at 110.9. They’ve made 40.3 percent of their attempts from behind the arc and 73.4 percent of their free throws.
Cleveland has averaged a second-best 106.9 points per game in the postseason while making 43.4 percent of their 3-pointers and 72.5 percent of their free throws.
This might look like a slight advantage for the Cavs, but considering they’ve played teams in the far weaker Eastern Conference I must give the Warriors and the Splash Brothers the shooting advantage in this series.
Tyronn Lue took over as head coach of the Cavs in the middle of the season while Steve Kerr missed more than half of the campaign recovering from back surgeries. That did not stop the Warriors from setting a new NBA record with their 73-win season, and the Cavaliers have played more like a team than ever before under Lue.
Still, the Warriors should have a huge coaching advantage with Kerr who has “been there, done that” already while this is Lue’s first job as a head coach.
The Warriors defeated the Cavs in six games in the finals last year, but that was a very different Cleveland team than the one that will enter the finals this year. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love both missed last season’s series, and they’re back with a vengeance.
The Warriors are still the team to beat though, and I’m backing Golden State to win in six games this year again.