Cavs the champs but Warriors the favorites in the NBA Finals

Robyn Ryan
June 2, 2017

Yes, this was also the day the Cleveland Cavaliers were being recognized by the President for winning the 2016 NBA Championship and the Kasich family joined the team on the south lawn of the White House that day with Kasich boldly stating after "I'm predicting a repeat". And that might be just the opening Curry needs to shine brightest again on the big stage after the struggles a year ago, when he shot just 40 percent in the Finals and had more turnovers (30) than assists (26).Lately, Curry and Durant have engaged in intense shooting competitions to stay sharp and have a little fun at the same time as the Warriors wait once more. Pachulia is back and ready to go after missing two games in the Western Conference finals with a heel injury.

Curry made a point to do everything necessary for Durant to make a smooth transition incorporating into the offense, even if that meant his own numbers were down a year after his second MVP and another record 402 3-pointers as Golden State topped the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls' wins record going 73-9.

"I think they're the prohibitive favorite", ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy said.

LeBron James had not won an NBA title when he and Kevin Durant first collided in an NBA Finals. Cleveland will have to slow down a team that has been clobbering teams by 16.3 points per game in the postseason.

He has scored 20 or more points in 10 straight playoff games and led the Warriors in scoring in eight of their 12 postseason contests.

The Warriors are a powerhouse, but the Cavs are 12-1 in the playoffs and give themselves a shot no matter who else does. "He's been a huge part - not just what he does on the court but just the mindset of where he came from, kind of that fringe National Basketball Association guy that was trying to make it and now is solidly in the rotation and somebody that we expect to have big games when he gets in and have a big impact on the game". Cleveland's Kevin Love ranks second after a 34-point first quarter against Portland on November 23, 2016. The Cavs havent been far behind, losing only in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final to Boston.

The Michigan State product has been every bit of the Warriors' motor that he's been expected to be, but can at times run into trouble by complaining to the officials and letting his emotions get the best of him, which costed his team Game 5, and some argue the consequent two games, failing to have the same collective impact as the team did in the previous four games.

WHAT HOME-COURT ADVANTAGE? The Cavaliers' nine-game postseason road winning streak, three shy of the 2001-02 Lakers' league record, started with victories past year in Games 5 and 7 in Oakland.

STRAIGHT SHOOTERS? All-Star Klay Thompson is shooting 38 percent from the field in the postseason and 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala is just 3 for 27 from 3-point range. Durant played well, averaging 30.6 points and shooting 55 percent but James came out on top.

"What happened in the past in my mind doesn't really count now unless we go out and finish the deal", he said.

“I cant go out there and do everything on my own or I cant go out there and just let my teammates do all the work for me, ” Durant said Wednesday, a day before the series opener. He's in better health now, even while wearing a sleeve over his elbow to protect some swelling. "So other than that, feeling fresh".

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