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Forget last year, this finals series is different

This is not a rematch. No, this Cavaliers team is too different. Last year it was a shell of itself with Timofy Mozgov and Matthew Dellavedova flanking the all-time great LeBron James as they attempted to challenge the Golden State Warriors in a best of seven series. This year, the big three is actually there, together and ready to take the crown that Cleveland has been thirsting for, forever.

LeBron James promised he would bring a championship to Cleveland. With Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love next to him this year, they have a good a chance as ever.

LeBron James promised he would bring a championship to Cleveland. With Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love next to him this year, they have a good a chance as ever.

With Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love playing great basketball next to James, who is still clearly the best all-around player in the NBA as he makes his sixth-straight NBA finals appearance, this Cavaliers team is on a different level. They would blow out and sweep last year’s team. They have only lost two games, both on the road to the second-seeded team in the Eastern Conference, in this year’s playoffs.

And that is why despite the Warriors’ all-time record 73 regular season wins does not make them a sure bet to repeat as champions.

The Warriors have to be the favorite this year as they have continually shown different ways to beat teams and showed their resolve by coming back from a 3-1 series deficit against the Oklahoma City Thunder, which is led by two of the top five players in the league (Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook) and a budding star (Steven Adams).

The first-ever unanimous league MVP Stephen Curry and his ‘Splash Brothers’ partner Klay Thompson have shot the lights out this postseason, scoring over 26 points per game. And Draymond Green has continually shown he too is capable of coming up with huge performances if his team needs it.

That is what makes this Warriors team so dangerous. They just have so many weapons. It is easy to say that a team should just double-team Curry, but he can shoot from far, far away or split that double-team if he wants. And if the double-team does slow him down, Thompson, Green, Harrison Barnes, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston; somebody is going to be there to take over the game too.

The Cavaliers on the other hand, they need James to have a huge game. Love and Irving are great players in their own rights, but nowhere near on James’ level. Those two guys are tremendous supplementary pieces who can go off when James is dominating too. If the Warriors find a way to make it tough on James, then the Cavaliers don’t necessarily have other ways to win. The problem is, find a way to limit James is almost impossible to do.

You can bet that every minute James is on the floor that Iguodala or Barnes will be pinned to him. Sometimes maybe even both guys. Their length and athleticism on the defensive end makes them matchup problems and makes it tough on guys when they play offense, but continually, James has proven he does not care who is defending him. He will have his huge night. What matters, though, if how tough it will be for him.

Their record 73 regular season wins means nothing if the Golden State Warriors don't win another championship this year.

Their record 73 regular season wins means nothing if the Golden State Warriors don’t win another championship this year.

When the Warriors came back to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference finals, Durant and Westbrook got their points and had their big games, but they were not shooting incredible well. Westbrook would go 7-for-21 in Game 7’s loss. Durant went 10-for-31 in Game 6. The Warriors wore them out over the course of 15 days by making them play tough basketball and the Thunder went from scoring 133 points in Game 3, to only 88 points in Game 7. The Thunder looked worn down.

That is what the Warriors do. They are nowhere near as good as they are defensively this year as they were last year, but they still know how to wear opponents out and if James has a tough time scoring, then the Cavaliers don’t stand too much of a change over a seven game series.

But remember, it takes more that just talent to win a title. Both of these teams wouldn’t be here without talent, but both teams have an edge. The Warriors want to prove they re the greatest team of all time. They already won a record 73 regular season games, but that means nothing without a championship. But the Cavs will be on a mission. The Cavaliers were only a shell of themselves when they took the Warriors to six games last year. That has to give them extra confidence to know they can be successful against them this year with two of their three biggest stars. And one thing that has gone missing this postseason is how incredibly well the Cavaliers are shooting the ball. Everybody always talks about Curry and Thompson jacking up three’s, but the Cavaliers are averaging more made three’s per game in the playoffs and are shooting at a higher percentage with Irving, Love, JR Smith and Channing Frye shooting successfully from distance and spreading out the defense to create more space for James to dominate inside.

James wants that ring. He promised to bring a championship to Cleveland. The Warriors are a great challenge, but the Cavs will be out to prove they are just as great of a team, and over the course of a best of seven series, they’ll be out to prove they are even greater.

Prediction: Cavs in 6, on their home court

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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