Golden State Warriors is now heading to the 2016 NBA Finals and will face their old nemesis the Cleveland Cavaliers. Stephen Curry and the rest of the Warriors crew found their selves down 3-1 against the Thunder but still were able to beat Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook-led team.
However for the Cavs it was a smooth sailing for them as they move forward to the league’s biggest stage where most NBA fans thought that it will be a sweep against the young Toronto Raptors. This series will be another fun to watch but before you cheer whatever team you will support here are the 5 facts that we have gathered for the upcoming 2016 NBA Finals game.
1. The Rematch
Well for this one will be the obvious one, the Cavaliers and the Warriors met last 2015 NBA Finals and Steve Kerr’s squad was able to win it all. However, maybe some of you already forgot, the Cavaliers was in the driver seat in the first three meetings. Cleveland was up 2-1 against the Warriors and looks like they have enough energy and manpower to beat Golden State.
Probably it was the brillant minds of Steve Kerr why Golden State won the 2015 NBA Finals trophy. He benched Andrew Bogut and replaced Draymond Green to start at the Center position and the Warriors executed a run-and-gun tempo that made the Cavs exhausted that only have eight rotation players.
Below are the scores during the 2015 NBA Finals.
Game 1: Cleveland Cavaliers 100, Golden State Warriors 108 (OT)
Game 2: Cleveland Cavaliers 95, Golden State Warriors 93 (OT)
Game 3: Golden State Warriors 91, Cleveland Cavaliers 96
Game 4: Golden State Warriors 103, Cleveland Cavaliers 82
Game 5: Cleveland Cavaliers 91, Golden State Warriors 104
Game 6: Golden State Warriors 105, Cleveland Cavaliers 97
2. The Superstars Are All Healthy
Golden State Warriors Starting 5
Having the Warriors and the Cavaliers back in the NBA Finals is great plus the fact that all of its superstars are also healthy. Last year, the Cavaliers have a reason why they got beaten and one of the reasons is their depleted roster where eight players in rotation. Kevin Love was not able to join the Cavs in the Finals while Kyrie Irving got injured in Game 1.
Cleveland Cavaliers Big 3
Hopefully both teams will have a healthy roster throughout the series just like their respective Conference Finals series.
3. Well-Rested VS Exhausted-But-Inspired
Just like what mentioned above, most fans thought that Cleveland Cavaliers will sweep the Toronto Raptors in their Eastern Conference Finals series but after the match moved to Toronto, the Raptors won two back-to-back games. Despite those Raptors wins, most of the Cavs victories are decided with a large margin especially in Game 5 and that momentum was carried to Game 6. It was indeed a smooth cruise for Cleveland heading to the NBA Finals and they got rewarded with one game rest.
While for the Warriors, they have a tough time playing with the Thunder. Golden State’s pressure started when they got down 3-1 but Steve Kerr’s team were able to respond with 3 straight wins. Anyway, GSW are not new when it comes to winning streak. Just look back early this season and see how many winning records they have shattered.
4. The Coaches
Steve Kerr and Luke Walton
These two teams have an opposite head coach story. Steve Kerr was not present on Warriors bench during the first-half of the 2015-16 regular season due to back injury. His assistant, Luke Walton took over the job while Kerr is away and did a marvelous job, guiding the franchise to 39-4 record.
David Blatt and Tyronne Lue
For the Cavaliers, coach David Blatt got fired midway of the 2015-16 season. It was the first time in the history of the league that a head coach got fired while his team is sitting at the top of the Eastern Conference. Tyronne Lue took over the role and eventually win his first Conference Finals trophy as a head coach.
5. The Wild Thing
This last part is just like a trivia. Who is the player that played for Cleveland Cavaliers but currently donning the Warriors uniform? If you don’t know, his nickname is written above, another clue? He’s from Brazil just like Leandro Barbosa.
Correct! His name is Anderson Varejao.
LeBron was saddened after learning that Varejao will be traded. Here is his statement via Cleveland.com
“You lose a brother, you lose a teammate, That’s the worst part about it.”
The Cavaliers dealt Varejao along with Jared Cunningham plus a draft pick in exchange for Orlando Magic’s Channing Frye. Varejao was later traded to Portland and was placed in on waivers.
Few days later, Varejao found a new home in Oakland as Golden State offered him a veterans minimum for the remainder of the season that now reached to 2016 NBA Finals.