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Sports Then and Now




2017 NBA Finals – No Surprises Here

Posted on May 29, 2017 by Dean Hybl
LeBron James and Steph Curry will be meeting in the NBA Finals for the third straight year.

LeBron James and Steph Curry will be meeting in the NBA Finals for the third straight year.

Finally. After a month and a half of preliminaries, the main event that every basketball fan has been waiting to see is finally upon us. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will be meeting in the NBA Finals for a third straight year.

After splitting the first two meetings, this one promises to provide more excitement and at least for now some clarity on which team can claim the title of being the NBA’s most dominant.

While this marks the first time that two franchises have met in the finals for three straight years, the fact that neither the Cavaliers or Warriors are among the big-market marquee franchises of the NBA has made it a bit harder to garner the type of excitement past NBA rivalries have enjoyed.

However, what the cities may not be prime time, both have marquee superstars.

Leading the way is LeBron James, who is without question the best player of this generation and is now in the conversation when discussing the best players in NBA history. Counting his four-straight appearances (and two titles) with the Miami Heat, James is making his seventh straight NBA Finals appearance.

Last year James finally accomplished his longtime mission of bringing an NBA Champions to Cleveland. While there isn’t the same sense of urgency as a year ago, winning another title would be another high mark on James’ career resume.

Providing James with strong support are two other elite NBA players in Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. There has been much discussion this postseason about Irving eventually becoming the “face of franchise” for the Cavaliers. He hasn’t reached that level yet, but in 2016-2017 Irving did average 25.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.

Despite missing more than 20 games due to injuries, Love posted the best statistical season of his three years in Cleveland in 2016-2017. His 19 points and 11.1 rebounds per contest are heading back towards the amazing numbers he posted during his years with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

While the Cavaliers have three elite players, the Warriors arguably have four players who fit that category.

Without question Steph Curry and Kevin Durant are among the top five players in the NBA. Both averaged more than 25 points per contest this season and can carry a team.

On many teams, sharp-shooter Klay Thompson would be a number one scorer, but with the Warriors he is the third option. Despite the addition of Durant this season, Thompson registered a career-high average of 22.3 points per contest.

Statistically, former second round pick Draymond Green saw a bit of a decline in 2016-2017, but in reality he continues to be the X factor player for the Warriors. One of the top defensive players in the league, Green averaged 10.2 points and 7.9 rebounds per contest this season.

For Green, the key is keeping his head and not getting caught up in emotions. Arguably, the turning point of the 2016 NBA Finals was having Green unavailable due to a one-game suspension for the fifth game of the finals with the Warriors needing just one more win to secure a second consecutive title.

Eventually, the Cavaliers rallied to win the series in seven games and setup this year’s tie-breaking final.

Both teams cruised through the 2017 conference playoffs with the Warriors posting a 12-0 mark and the Cavaliers losing just once along the way.

Starting Thursday (June 1st), we will see if LeBron can continue to build his resume or if Kevin Durant will win his first title while helping the Warriors revenge their loss from a year ago. Should be interesting and fun to watch.


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