We are just days away from Golden State vs Cleveland III and we are going to go through the series match-up in a deeper fashion to come up with our predictions, showing what key players and statistics may be at work in this upcoming NBA Finals.
The facts are if Stephen A. Smith cannot correctly predict the NBA Finals, then it's up to us to take a crack at it. Us here at Fadeaway World are ready to put our basketball knowledge to the test to determine who the next 2017 NBA champion will be. 9 of our writers gave their thoughts on what the outcome of this much-hyped match-up will be.
Michael Ivanoskos: Warriors in 5
“I have the Golden State Warriors defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers in 5. I believe that you cannot compare this Golden State team with what they were last year. They had a 3-1 lead on the Cavaliers without Kevin Durant and now they have Kevin Durant. A superstar to counter punch against LeBron’s offensive attack. A star that will make LeBron work defensively. A 7 footer that moves like a guard. The Cavaliers big three has been on fire lately but you can’t help to wonder about what Kevin Love we will see this series? The Warriors made him obsolete last year and their defense is even better now, who’s to say that can’t do it again. Everybody wants to talk about Klay Thompson’s offensive struggles. Not realizing how much of a factor he is on the defensive end in these playoffs. Having shut down CJ McCollum in Game 4 of the Portland-Golden State series. Having basically taken out Patty Mills in the last series. A great shooter is typically one that shoots himself out of slumps. A fun stat for everybody betting against the Warriors, this squad is undefeated since early February when their four all stars in Green, Thompson, Curry and Durant are all healthy. Take that for data.
However, I do expect the Cavaliers taking one or two games because I expect every game to be a fight and a close one at that. Advantage to the Cavs in a close game due to the clutch shooting of Irving and the clutch playmaking of LeBron. The big tilt against the Cavs is that they cannot zone in on any one player this series like they did with Curry last year. The Warriors have so many weapons in that starting lineup with Durant being added. It's pick your poison if you’re the Cavs. I really think everybody is counting out the coaching skills of Mike Brown. Mike Brown has been the finals twice with the Spurs in 03 as an assistant and with the Cavaliers in 07 as a head coach. He has the experience. I believe they have been more locked in defensively since he took over too."
Brad Stevenson: Cavs in 7
“Prediction: Cavs in 7! Now, I'm not one to be biased, but I'm going to be now, just this once. I'm not a Cavs fan by any means, but I am a LeBron fan, and that means I have to back The King and his band of merry men in this year's Finals. What James has done this postseason is nothing short of extraordinary, and barring Game 3 against Boston in the Eastern Conference Finals, there is almost nothing you can criticize LeBron for in these playoffs. He's now showing all the doubters why he took so many games off to rest in the regular season, and those extra rest days are going to pay off when he needs them most: the Finals. That's not to say LeBron is the only reason for Cleveland's success however. Kyrie Irving has upped his game tremendously as of late, showing that he doesn't always need LeBron (Game 4 against Boston, leading the comeback with 41 points), and Kevin Love is playing the best stretch of basketball in a Cavaliers uniform.
Even without Steve Kerr and Klay Thompson not playing at his best this postseason, Golden State are a scary 12-0, and the Cavs will just be outmatched on the offensive end at times when Curry and Durant are clicking, alas why the series will go to seven games. In any case, both teams have something to prove in the third installment of this saga, the Warriors looking to avenge their 3-1 blown lead last year, and LeBron looking to inch closer and closer to GOAT status, which should make this series one for the ages."
Adrian Plascencia Cavs in 6
“Cavs in 6. Both finals that LBJ has been to against the Warriors, he has played out of his mind, nearly averaging a triple-double in the Finals. We have seen LeBron "flip the switch" but I expect him to go to another level to drive this team to win in 6 or 7 games. Not to mention Kevin Love had only 5 points in the closeout game, but Kevin has stepped it up this year big time and is much more comfortable in his role in the big three, and he's going to snag mad rebounds against a small GSW. And last but not least, the ICE COLD closer and clutch bucket machine Kyrie Irving AKA uncle drew, no one can guard him, and he is proven in clutch situations.
The Warriors have the revenge factor but they haven’t been tested in the playoffs yet, and also we don’t know if Mike Brown can make adjustments against the best player in the world. KD is going to play a big role on defense and offense but he’s not clutch at all and has little playoffs experience. If either team wins it will be no surprise because both are insanely good. I would not put money against LeBron in the finals. Cavs in 6 or maybe 7.”
Oli Maclean: Warriors in 6
“Warriors in 6. Last year the Warriors had the Cavs to a 3-1 lead before we know what happened. This year the Warriors have added Kevin Durant to the mix and now have a prime Draymond guarding LeBron. The Cavs defense this year I believe will be the downfall, Warriors will abuse them with Kevin Durant running the 4 spot on Kevin Love and force Cleveland to switch. Ultimately the series will come down to rebounding though. The team who controls the rebounds controls the pace of the game, the Warriors are almost unstoppable when they control the pace of the game. If Cleveland really wants to push this series they must crash every rebound.
However, I think Warriors offensive and defensive prowess this year will be too hard to overcome. LeBron is one of the greatest ever however his hands have never been as full as they are now. He's expected to put up 40 point triple doubles every game while also being guarded by Draymond on one end, then LeBron himself guarding Kevin Durant on the other. The Cavs are going to need more out of LeBron than we've ever seen if they are going to win.”
Prince Jethro: Cavaliers in 6
“Cavs in 6 over the Warriors. It’s going to be exciting series because for the 3rd time of the NBA Finals matchup will be on fire between Warriors and Cavs. My prediction is Cavs will take the trophy in Game 6. Bold Predictions: Kevin Love will give Warriors a major problem because as we all know that Cavs didn’t get exactly much from Kevin Love a year ago because of his bad plays, injuries and bad defense, but not this time. Love exploded against the Boston Celtics, averaging 22.6 points and 12.4 rebounds on 48.6 percent shooting from the floor and 53.5 percent from deep, compared to his regular season stats that averages 19 points and 11 rebounds.
Warriors have a good chemistry and 4 All-Star level players but Cavs have a confidence that they can do anything to the Warriors. Yep, Cavs only have LeBron, Kyrie and Love but don’t forget about last year were Cavs disrespected the historical standing of the Warriors.”
Nico Andre Martinez: Cavaliers in 7
“My prediction for the 2017 NBA Playoffs: Cavaliers over Warriors In 7. Even with Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, the Warriors are still missing one vital piece to championship success: LeBron James. Right now, he is at a level very few even dream of and he is unstoppable. Kyrie is doing his thing, Kevin Love seems to have regained some of his Minnesota form, and everybody is clicking for the Cavs. Not to mention that Klay Thompson is out of his rhythm, and the Warriors haven't quite mastered how to fit KD in their lineup.
It will be tight, but the Cavaliers will prevail yet again, and cement their place in the NBA History books.”
Jose Charo: Warriors in 6
“I like the Warriors in 6. Cavs - Warriors, Warriors - Cavs. It has been a decade since we have seen this type of rivalry. Spurs - Lakers, Lakers - Celtics, Bulls - Pistons. These team rivalries have made us the diehard fans we are today. It has made us love players and hate teams. They have brought us joy and tears. The NBA today is a different game than it was just a short 10 years ago. It's a smarter, faster game. No more are the days of on-court fights or hard fouls with no calls. Like it or not this is the new NBA. The Warriors are the smartest team in the NBA right now. LeBron is the best player in the world right now. When these two teams match up for the third straight time it will rewrite history. The warriors are on a mission to straight DOMINATE the NBA and the Cavs have players playing the best basketball of their careers. Kevin Love is playing his heart out and Kyrie has been getting better every season.
Kyle Korver is going to hit some of the biggest shots of his career and could be one of the most important pieces of the Cavs whole system this series. In my opinion, only one player tips the scale in the favor of one side, Kevin Durant. Without Durant, the Warriors would still have made it to the finals (with a Kawhi injury). With Durant, the Warriors will crush the Cavs. As much as I’d love to see the Warriors sweep the postseason, I don’t think LeBron and the Cavs will let that happen.”
DeAndre Smith: Warriors in 7
“I predict that the Golden State Warriors will be the 2017 NBA Champions in 7 games. Kevin Durant will ultimately be the deciding factor that gives that team the edge against Cleveland. He's still the ultimate scorer in the league and is always a problem for opposing defenses. Stephen Curry has played mediocre in his previous two finals so he'll be looking to prove that he was deserving of his two MVP awards. Klay Thompson hasn't played particularly well during the playoffs which might not be a good thing for Cleveland because he could find his rhythm in the finals and nobody is more lethal than Klay when he gets hot.
I expect the Cavs to handle their business in their court but it will ultimately come down to the Warriors winning all their home games. Kevin Durant for Finals MVP.”
Nemanja Vukasinovic: Warriors in 6
"Everone expected the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. They are the best teams right now, and finally we have back-to-back-to-back NBA Finals.
I predict that the Golden State Warriors will beat Cleveland Cavaliers in 6 games. My philosophy of the game is - off-ball movement and the only team who implements that style on the court is Golden State (Spurs had that, but last two years they've had more ISO plays).
LeBron James is, no doubt, the best player in the world, but now he has to beat the Warriors plus Kevin Durant. The crucial part of the game is who will control the rhythm. If LeBron James succeeds to play a little bit slower, to post up, to use matchups, behind the back screens for Kevin Love and if JR Smith and Kyle Korver are clicking from deep, the Cavaliers can surprise the Warriors once again.
But I think that Stephen Curry will be under the pressure and he will prove that he is one of the best players in the world. The Warriors have to take revenge from the last year and I would like to watch this series playing until 10 wins, but it's impossible.
Golden State Warriors are the better team and they have the better ball movement. With Klay Thompson (as a joker), they will beat the Cavs and they will become the NBA Champions once again.
What can I do... when my team the Los Angeles Lakers are still without an NBA Playoffs appearance in the last 4 years."