The Golden State Warriors won 67 games in the regular season and have the reigning NBA MVP, Stephen Curry, who has already nailed more 3-pointers than anyone in a single NBA playoffs run, with at least four games remaining. I predicted the Warriors to win the NBA championship, but if King James and the Cavs are to pull off the upset, here are five reasons they might.
5. J.R. Smith is the ultimate wildcard. This will not make New York Knicks fans happy, but Smith is a streak shooter who has the ability to shoot a team into any game on any given night. He showed that against the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals, nailing 10-16 shots, including eight 3-pointers while grabbing eight rebounds and handing out three assists in Game 1.
4. LeBron will play the best basketball of his career. At every point in a player’s career, they have that defining moment in the playoffs. We have seen it in the NBA playoffs before, when King James dropped 45 points on 14-29 shooting, along with six assists and five rebounds in gGame 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the future 2008 NBA champion Boston Celtics. He would need to have a couple of similar games to carry the Cavs to victory.
3. Tristan Thompson will create havoc on the boards. The energizing power forward certainly isn’t as skilled as the injured third member of the Big Three, Kevin Love, but Thompson averaged 11.8 points and 11.0 rebounds against the Atlanta Hawks. If he can be the force on the boards, particularly on the offensive end, that he was against the Hawks, he will give the Cavs the extra possessions they may need to win.
2. Kyrie Irving is much healthier. The Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t really need the talent and skills of Irving to defeat the Atlanta Hawks. That is not true of the talented Golden State Warriors. At his best, Irving can get the best of any point guard in the NBA on any given night, including 2014-2015 NBA MVP Stephen Curry. Don’t believe me? See the earlier game this season where Irving dropped 57 points against the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs!
1. Leadership of LeBron James. Based on his statistics, James has played better basketball, but his leadership has never been better. He was the leader of the 2007 Cleveland Cavaliers team that advanced to the NBA Finals, but that team probably didn’t think they could defeat the San Antonio Spurs, and were swept. After winning two championships in Miami, James is a better leader, and their ability to close out teams when needed displays it.