Today the Cavaliers will face the Warriors for the first time since their NBA finals match up, where the Golden State Warriors fell short after leading the series 3-1. If the season goes as planned they could potentially meet again in June for their third straight NBA Finals battle. While Golden State is the force of the Western Conference, the Cavaliers are holding their own in the Eastern Conference. Both teams are a force to be reckoned with.
In a recent interview, Cleveland’s head coach, Tyronn Lue, was asked: Does Cavs and Warriors stack up with the Lakers and Celtics?
“Well, it’s a lot of championships won in that era” stated Lue. “But if both teams stay together and both teams continue to keep winning, it could be like that. They have a great team over there on that side and we a great team also, so when you talk basketball, you’re going to talk Golden State, Cleveland, San Antonio. That’s who you’re going to talk about. And it’s a great place to be in.”
While Celtics and Lakers have met in the Finals 12 times, the Cavs and Warriors have only played in 11 Finals combined. The Cavs and Warriors have only played in 5 Finals combined since the NBA-ABA merger.
In the 80’s the Lakers and Celtics not only represented the greatest team rivalry but also represented the greatest individual rivalry as well with the team’s legends, Magic Johnson-Larry Bird. While Celtics and Lakers had a dynamic individual rivalry, the Cavs and Warriors could not hold the same level as them. With LeBron James playing at Forward and Stephen Curry playing at Point Guard, the two don’t compare as a more significant rivalry like Magic and Bird.
Although Cleveland and Golden State don’t have the great individual rivalry like the Celtics and Lakers had, they do have plenty of potentials to put a significant mark on their rivalry. The question is can they compare to the Celtics and Lakers?
To be completely honest anything is possible. For over a decade the world thought that breaking the ’95-’96 Bulls 72-10 season record was impossible, but that record eventually was brought down by Curry and the Warriors in the 2015-2016 season. The Cavs and Warriors have a long way to go to come close to the Celtics and Lakers rivalry, but if both teams stay together and stay strong, they could become one of the greatest team rivalries in NBA history. Golden State and Cleveland have become two forces to be reckoned with in the East and West Conferences, and can both dominate the league for seasons to come if all goes well.