- PG: Stephen Curry
- SG: Klay Thompson
- SF: Harrison Barnes
- PF: Draymond Green
- C: Festus Ezeli
Game 7 Pick & Preview of 2016 NBA Finals: Cavs at Warriors
The Cleveland Cavaliers are one step away from the impossible, as they head back to Oracle Arena for one last showdown with the Golden State Warriors in game seven of the 2016 NBA Finals.
The Cavs weren’t supposed to be here after going down 3-1 in the series, but LeBron James and Kyrie Irving teamed up for the first dual 40+ point performance in Finals history and the Cavs exploited a Draymond Green suspension to force a game six back at home.
With a big win at Quicken Loans Arena on Thursday night, Cleveland punched their ticket to a seventh and final game in this series, ripping off two straight wins and putting all of the pressure back on the defending champion Warriors.
Will Golden State lean on their home crowd and keep the Cavs from making history (no team has ever come all the way back from a 3-1 hole in the Finals), or will James and Irving continue their history defying ways en route to the Cavs’ first ever NBA title? Sunday night’s game seven awaits.
Golden State Warriors Team Preview
Golden State has gotten away from who they are a bit in their last two losses, as their defense hasn’t been as nasty as it can be and their potent offense has only shown up in spurts.
While the Cavs have pushed them out of their comfort zone at times, Golden State has still largely been at their best on their home court on the year and in this series. With a third straight chance to close out a second straight NBA title, the Dubs have to like their chances in front of their home crowd.
Getting Draymond Green back for game six certainly gave the Warriors back some of their defensive bite and their offensive flow, but losing game five gave too much momentum to the Cavs, who leaned hard on their home crowd to edge the Dubs in game six. If the Warriors are going to secure their second consecutive championship, they’ll have to do the same in game seven.
It’s not a crazy concept, either, considering the Dubs have lost just four games at home all season – including the playoffs. When Oklahoma City got the best of the Dubs in the Western Conference Finals, Stephen Curry ended up showing up and helping push his team back into the Finals. That’s precisely what Curry – a two-time league MVP – will have to do to get the Warriors over the hump in such a huge finale.
One other key thing working in Golden State’s favor is the fact that they haven’t lost more than two games in a row all year. Losing a record 9 regular season games will help make that happen and though he Dubs have failed to close this series out to this point, the odds, talent and home court edge still appear to be in their favor. They’ll just need to be up to a stiff challenge and find a way to execute with both team’s knowing this is the mother of “do or die” games.
Cleveland Cavaliers Team Preview
Even if the Cavaliers hadn’t fallen into a 3-1 hole, they are right where they want to be. As the underdog going into the 2016 NBA Finals, al the Cavs could have truly hoped for all along was a chance to be in game seven against the defending champs.
In a sense, Cleveland has already won after making it further than they did last year against these Warriors. They’ve responded remarkably well in the clutch, coming out strong in a huge game three win at home and responding again with two big wins in a row to avoid elimination.
Both LeBron James and Kyrie Irving have been flat out unstoppable during this run, both providing the NBA media with two worthy MVP cases. As great as they’ve been, however, game seven may be bigger than just one or two epic performances. Rather, a win at Oracle Arena may require elite team defense from the Cavs and 1-2 extra huge performances from their supporting cast.
- PG: Kyrie Irving
- SG: J.R. Smith
- SF: Richard Jefferson
- PF: LeBron James
- C: Tristan Thompson
To this point, pre-series x-factor Channing Frye has been a ghost, Kevin Love hasn’t earned his paycheck and J.R. Smith has been too touch and go. Cleveland has done a terrific job getting this far and the good news is that with this game on the road and history working against them, the result has already been mailed in by many – experts and fans alike. Of course, the heavy expectation that this is Golden State’s title to lose come Sunday works in Cleveland’s advantage. The pressure is on the Warriors and a relaxed and comfortable Cavs team is more than a little dangerous.
Cavaliers at Warriors Game 7 Preview
All bets truly feel to be off for this ridiculous game seven. Golden State had ample opportunity to close out this series and truly, had it not been for an insane game from the Cavs in game three, this series could have brought out the brooms.
That didn’t happen, though, and the Cavs went on to use a Draymond Green ban as a catalyst for what could be the most epic NBA Finals comeback of all-time. History still doesn’t like Cleveland here, but the Warriors have lost to the Cavs at home in this very series and have looked more than a little vulnerable in spots throughout the playoffs.
|6/16/16||Cavaliers 115, Warriors 101|
|6/13/16||Cavaliers 112, Warriors 97|
|6/10/16||Warriors 108, Cavaliers 97|
|6/8/16||Cavaliers 120, Warriors 90|
|6/5/16||Warriors 110, Cavaliers 77|
|6/2/16||Warriors 104, Cavaliers 89|
|1/18/16||Warriors 132, Cavaliers 98|
|12/25-15||Warriors 89, Cavaliers 83|
|6/16/15||Warriors 105, Cavaliers 97|
|6/14/15||Warriors 104, Cavaliers 91|
|6/11/15||Warriors 103, Cavaliers 82|
|6/9/15||Cavaliers 96, Warriors 91|
|6/7/15||Cavaliers 95, Warriors 93 (OT)|
|6/4/15||Warriors 108, Cavaliers 100 (OT)|
The main trend in this series dating back to 2015 is pace. The team that takes care of the ball a little better, tightens up on defense and executes offensively tends to win out in this matchup. As we can see, the loser doesn’t typically get to 100 points, so pace and defense truly do reign supreme.
That gives the edge to the Dubs at first glance, as they have been nearly impossible to stop as an offense on their home floor. In fact, more often than not, The Splash Brothers are on top of their game and games are over before the fourth quarter arrives.
In this specific series, the play of Curry and Thompson hasn’t even been as crucial, as we saw the Warriors destroy Cleveland with their superior bench. Golden State also tends to feed off their home crowd and play a fast and killer brand of defense that ignites the pace, creates turnovers and sends the opposition into a frenzy. If the Warriors can manipulate the pace and get Cleveland to turn their heads, they should hold the advantage going into game seven.
Recommended Game 7 Bet
While Golden State is the better team on paper, is at home and seems due to close this out with their third opportunity, there is a real threat that resides in momentum. Cleveland has taken over this series with two straight wins and in an environment they’ve gotten past just a week ago, they’re not going to suddenly shrink and go away.
Everything the Cavs have fought for is here for the taking and to this point the Dubs have blown a good chance to wrap up the Finals. Momentum is a real killer here, as Cleveland is now one win away from LeBron James being a basketball savior – maybe even a God – and the Cavs being crowned champions for the first time ever. We’ve seen a lot of firsts in this series and with this series ready to rock in a game seven, it feels like Cleveland can’t be denied.
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