Why the Cleveland Cavaliers will win the NBA Finals

The Golden State Warriors have opened as heavy favorites to repeat and win the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers. More

The Golden State Warriors have opened as heavy favorites to repeat and win the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers. More

(Updated 12:52 PM with viewership numbers) The Stanley Cup Finals hit the ice for Game 1 between newbies the Vegas Golden Knights and the Washington Capitals in Sin City on NBC, but the real sports showdown last night was on TNT in Game 7 of the National Basketball Association playoffs' Western Conference Finals. He's not a scorer for us as Chris (Paul) is for Houston, but a huge component.

"I walked in at halftime, and I said, I don't even recognize this team".

"We've got the right formula".

The heart of the Warriors' team that thumped the Cavaliers in 2017 - Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green - is still beating strong. Cleveland won Game 6 comfortably, outscoring the Celtics by 14 points after Love went to the locker room midway through the first quarter. Golden State's preponderance of talent means that they have multiple players who can put in solid shifts against The King, and that fact, paired with the team's switch-heavy defense, lends itself to the strategy.

"He's frustrated", Kerr said. "It's as simple as that".

Golden State (which shot 16-for-39 on threes Monday) gets shooters open thanks in part to its ball movement, and if one player is not feeling it, his teammates still are creating open shots. The Rockets missed 27 consecutive 3-pointers and went 7-for-44 from downtown in the loss.

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The Warriors had tried to use Durant as a closer and failed, twice, squandering nail-biters in Games 4 and 5 and putting themselves on the brink of elimination in the Western Conference finals. "And you have to have those momentum changers and stoppers, and the last two games, we didn't have them".

Despite facing a Game 7 on the road against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, Cleveland's postseason experience proved the difference, as it managed to advance with an 87-79 victory. Golden State won the series last summer four games to one.

"It sucks because you know you could win this series if we just had one more playmaker", Gordon said, via ESPN's Tim MacMahon. "Whether we figured it out, win or lose, we showed a lot of fight, a lot of grit and resiliency to stay positive as we went through the series no matter what the situation was". Many doubted that he would play well with Paul after the point guard was acquired in a trade with the Clippers. "Learned my lesson. Those guys are great at drawing fouls but I've got to be smarter than that".

"I'm not going to say (the Cavaliers have) zero percent chance", said Jackson, who got to the NBA Finals as a player with IN in 2000 and will be calling his 10th Finals.

"It's a tremendous story", Jackson said.

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