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The Milton Measure

A Compelling Finals Trilogy

by Ben Monnich on Friday, June 9th, 2017

The NBA playoffs have yet again proven to be the tale of two basketball giants — the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. In fact, this will be the third consecutive time that these two franchises square off in the NBA finals. Both teams dominated in their respective conferences — the Cavs went 12-1 in the East while the Warriors cruised through the West with a 12-0 record.

During the Western Conference Finals, the Warriors faced the perennial contender San Antonio Spurs in an exciting match-up. The first game of the series was the closest, as the Spurs took a commanding 20-point lead in the first half. However, in the third-quarter, MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard re-injured his ankle and was did not return for the remainder of the series. Without their star, the Spurs were lost, as Golden State stormed back in game 1 and ended up sweeping the Spurs. Throughout the season, the Warriors have been incredible on offense and defense, as, according to TeamRanking.com, they averaged 116 points per game, first in the NBA, and only allowed 104 points per game, eleventh in the league.

The Cavaliers also breezed through their competition during the Playoffs. Although the Celtics snagged the Number 1 seed from the Cavs, the defending champion Cavaliers looked much stronger on paper. The Cavs have a gifted starting lineup, boasting Kyrie Irving, J.R. Smith, Lebron James, Kevin Love, and Tristan Thompson. The addition of Kyle Korver provided the Cavs a deeper bench and made them an even more dangerous three-point shooting team. Signing Deron Williams gave Cleveland a better and more dependable backup point guard. Finally, newcomer Channing Frye has shot about 40% on three-pointers and is averaging about 10 points per game, according to ESPN.com.

After sweeping the opposition in the earlier playoff rounds, the Cavaliers showed their strength against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. Even though Games 1 and 2 were in Boston, the Cavs had no trouble defeating the Celtics. In the first game, the Cavs completely dominated and won by thirteen points. Then, they dismantled the Celtics defense and won Game 2 by a whopping forty-four points, a Cavaliers postseason record. Although Isaiah Thomas, the Celtics’ star point guard, injured his hip in Game 2, the Celtics narrowly won Game 3 with an amazing 21 point comeback. Ultimately, the loss of Isaiah Thomas proved to be too much, as the Celtics were unable to overcome LeBron James’ excellent play and lost Games 4 and 5.

As a result, the NBA Finals again features the Warriors and Cavaliers. Both teams are extremely talented, as seven of the ten starters in the Finals are NBA All-Stars. Still, the offseason addition of Kevin Durant and the Warrior’s great defense makes Golden State a clear favorite over Cleveland. With Klay Thompson, Steph Curry, KD, and Draymond Green posing a consistent offensive challenge, Cleveland’s defense has been tested this series. During game 1, the Cavaliers struggled to contain Golden State in transition, and found themselves in an insurmountable hole after Steph Curry and KD sparked a vintage warrior 3 point barrage in the 3rd quarter. The Warriors carried this momentum into game 2, and exploded for 132 points in Oakland in another rout. While the Warriors seem to be in total control at this point in the series, the Cavaliers dropped games 1 and 2 in last year’s finals, only to storm back and win the series in 7 games.

As this 3rd installment of this epic matchup continues, the question arises — who will win it all this year?

This article was written before Game 3.

Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=9305

Posted by Ben Monnich on Jun 9 2017. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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