Sports

The NBA Finals: Cavalier Warfare

The Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James, middle, gets tangled with the Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green, left, during the fourth quarter in Game 4 of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Friday, June 10, 2016. The Warriors won, 108-97, for a 3-1 series lead. (Phil Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal/TNS)

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James, middle, gets tangled with the Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green, left, during the fourth quarter in Game 4 of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Friday, June 10, 2016. The Warriors won, 108-97, for a 3-1 series lead. (Phil Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal/TNS)

By Isaac Bototen

It is the matchup we have all been waiting for: Steph Curry, LeBron James, Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving, Draymond Green, and Kevin Love. For a while, it looked like we would not get this marquee matchup. The Cleveland Cavaliers got a scare from the Toronto Raptors in the conference finals, when the Raptors took the Cavs to six games. Despite this little scare, it was never really in doubt.

The Cavs’ ride to the NBA Finals was as easy as it could be. They only lost two games on their way, making other playoff teams look like lottery teams.

The Warriors, on the other hand, are another story. After a regular season for the ages, breaking the 1995­-1996 Bulls’ record, winning 73 out of 82 possible games, the general consensus was that the Warriors could walk to the finals. Perhaps this got into their heads. Steph Curry, the league’s most valuable player, went down with a knee injury in the second game of round 1, against the Rockets. The Warriors proceeded to struggle, losing game 3 to the Rockets. Luckily for Golden State, even without Curry, they were talented enough to power past the Rockets. They did the same to the Portland Trailblazers, putting the world on notice: this team is no joke. The Oklahoma City Thunder challenged the Warriors on this theory in the conference finals. Even with Curry’s return, OKC were exposing some flaws and rustiness that the Warriors had shown. Golden State took one of two at home, but lost twice in a row on the road, making Steve Kerr’s side trail 3­1, a daunting task in any best­of­seven series. There was a legitimate chance that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook’s Thunder were just too athletic for a Warriors team that was just working their MVP, Steph Curry, back into the rotation.

The thing about the true great teams, is they work through adversity. The problem with the Warriors was that we hadn’t seen them go through very much adversity. The world thought that they had choked, and there was no chance they’d get to the finals. Let’s just say they proved the world wrong.

Golden State came out firing on all cylinders, winning the last 3 games of the series handily. This set the stage for Cavalier Warfare: Golden State vs. Cleveland.

The first three games of the series were all blowouts. Golden State took both games at home. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, affectionately nicknamed the “Splash Brothers” were quiet in their two wins, but it did not seem to matter. If it wasn’t Klay and Steph, the Warriors had the mentality where the next guy would step in, and do their job to get the win. Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green, and Shaun Livingston are all making a name for themselves as key contributors to a championship calibre team.

The Golden State Warriors' Shaun Livingston, left, looks to pass while being defended by the Cleveland Cavaliers' Richard Jefferson in the second quarter during Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday, June 8, 2016, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. (Phil Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal/TNS)

The Golden State Warriors’ Shaun Livingston, left, looks to pass while being defended by the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Richard Jefferson in the second quarter during Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday, June 8, 2016, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. (Phil Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal/TNS)

The third game was a different story. With the series shifting back to Cleveland, the Cavs came out poised. There was nothing the Warriors could do to stop LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers. The Cavs ended up winning the game 120­90, a 30 point blowout. This must have been a shock for the Warriors and their fans, who may have been getting a little bit too cocky.

The Cleveland Cavaliers' Tristan Thompson (13) dunks over the Golden State Warriors' James Michael McAdoo during the first quarter in Game 4 of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Friday, June 10, 2016. (Phil Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal/TNS)

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ Tristan Thompson (13) dunks over the Golden State Warriors’ James Michael McAdoo during the first quarter in Game 4 of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Friday, June 10, 2016. (Phil Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal/TNS)

Game four was the first close game of the series. The game went back-­and­-forth, until Steph Curry and Klay Thompson turned it on, and there was no looking back. The Warriors took a game in Cleveland, and now have a commanding 3­1 lead in the series. One more win would make them back-­to­-back champions. The outlook for game 5 on Monday night looks even more interesting, as Draymond Green, a key contributor for the Warriors, has been suspended one game for his flagrant foul on LeBron James. Even in Golden State at Oracle Arena, the Cavs might have the advantage with Draymond sidelined.

We will just have to see to find out.

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