By Shaquita Newton
For the fourth year in a row, we will get an NBA final with the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Though the Warriors will look relatively the same, the look of the Cavaliers will be a lot different. Superstar LeBron James will be leading a host of new, younger players in his quest to knock off the Warriors for the second time in four years.
The Warriors and the Cavaliers are coming off of strenuous game sevens in their conference finals. Both the Warriors and the Cavaliers had to go on the road to win.
What can we expect from this fourth installment of the finals? With both teams battling injuries, which team is more equipped to handle the loss of their injured player or players?
Starting May 31, we will watch James and the rest of the Cavaliers try to pull out what almost no one thinks they can do and that is beat the Warriors.
This championship is also a key moment for a few of the Golden State players. With this finals championship win, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston will all have their third NBA championship ring which just so happens to be the same amount James has in his career. Their NBA Finals record will be 3-1 while James’ record will move to 3-6.
This is James’ eighth consecutive finals appearance and it is almost like he has to be there. We kind of forgot what the NBA championship looks like without James, and now we are starting to feel the same about Curry and the Warriors.
If James wants to complete what would probably be his biggest accomplishment and defeat the Warriors in this championship rematch, there are quite a few things the Cavaliers will have to do and do them well.
First they will have to be a lot more consistent with their defense. Their run will start and end with how well they defend the Warriors, especially Curry, Durant and Thompson.
The Cavaliers will have to find a way to be more disciplined and attentive consistently throughout the entire 48 minutes against a Warriors team that does not need much daylight to blow a game wide open.
Next will be James’ fuel gauge. We know how James like to let everyone know how much he has to do and the little help he has to do it all, but assuming he is able to take these few days to gas up the tank again, how far can he actually push it once the cargo he is carrying starts to drain him again?
The difference in the last round and the championship is the Celtics had some scrappy defenders, but the Warriors can throw a few looks at James and keep their options fresh and that will weigh heavily on him, especially if he is not getting help from his supporting cast.
Another key strategy the Cavaliers want to focus on is their three-point shooting. They made more than 10 three-pointers only once in the series against Boston, but that lack of shooting will not work against a Warriors team with the greatest three-point shooter ever and a second who is arguably top three.
The Cavaliers are going to need more, but I don’t think they will muster it up, giving the Warriors their third championship in four years.
Shaquita Newton is a sports blogger. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.