Filipinos love basketball, and to that I have been following the NBA finals which is usually a big event every where.
The conference finals are on, so far Bulls fans are disappointed while Steph Curry and Lebron James fans are excited to see how both their teams will pan out when the smoke settles. Although there is still chance for their opponents from their respective conferences; history dictates that no team has yet bounced back from a 3-0 series deficit. Surely, with how Jeff Teague with the rest of Atlanta, is playing against the Cavs, they won’t stand a chance. On the other conference, it has been a good game; even a great season for Harden but it might not be enough to propel them to championship contention.
Let’s start with an analysis from the Western Conference finals, moving to the Eastern Conference finals and finally a match up to match up view on what this year’s final might look like.
Western Conference Finals
It all came down to MVP Steph Curry, and MVP runner-up James Harden.
The Golden State Warriors walked over the whole playoffs, losing only twice with Memphis Grizzlies, a defensive team. Being the top team in the West there is no surprise that the GSW has all the ingredients they need to finish what they started this year, what is good about GSW is they have young and hungry playoffs that have stucked with the team since day 1; they also have veterans that are patient enough to wait for the whole team to mature with them. Another factor that made them successful was a healthy team which points to David Lee, Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala being healthy for them this playoffs.
The Houston Rockets is the second seed from the west. They demolished the mighty Dallas Mavericks to move on to the next round. The cruise was over by this time as they faced the LA Clippers. They were down 3-1 by Game 4 and was not anymore favored to win. Miraculously, they somehow bounced back, winning back to back to back games to get a shot at the Western Conference Finals with a healthy Dwight Howard, and a hungry James Harden.
GSW leads the series 3-0 going against the Houston Rockets. At this moment, GSW could not be stopped. Curry have been having a great time with his three point shooting, 18/31 to be exact on the GSW-HOU series, a 58% rate that his shots will be going in the hoop from downtown. Houston might not have enough power to do what they did with the LA Clippers to score a comeback; Harden might not have enough help to get things mixed up.
Eastern Conference Finals
On the other end, surprising first seed Atlanta Hawks goes to their first ever conference finals in the history of its franchise. Without a bona fide superstar to lead them, the Hawks are filled with talented players to each has roles to fill out to be successful. The Cavs (second seed), on the other hand has just rebuilt their team with a formation of another Big Three which includes Lebron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love; Lebron who is back to Cavs after winning championships for Miami; have sighted another chance to get another ring with the Cavs. They also added JR Smith and Shumpert to bolster their run for the crown, as well as big man Mozgov.
Cavs leads 3-0, even without help from 2/3 of the big three; Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving who are both suffering from injuries. Nevertheless, Lebron is pushing out of this world numbers as the playoff series progress; registering a monstrous triple double after the third game. The only thing ATL fans are holding onto is their 3-1 season victory against the might Cavs. The Atlanta Hawks are not that good enough to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Both conference finals are dominated by one team, and would most likely be meeting at the NBA Finals. GSW vs Cavs. It seems inevitable that these teams will be meeting for the finals, as this year’s MVP Steph Curry will go against the undisputed king, Lebron James. In the two games that both teams battled in the season series, both captured 1 win and 1 loss making it a match record for both teams. Coming off the playoffs series, both also have a identical record losing only twice on the second round and both on teams which are favored to go to the finals. GSW loss to Memphis twice, Cavs loss to Chicago bulls twice. Both teams should go on to the finals with no more problems as they have notched 3 victories over their respective opponents in their respective conferences, but who really has an edge over the other team.
GSW will go on to be the underdog against the powerful Cleveland Cavaliers and will be led by shooter Steph Curry. and rookie coach Steve Kerr. With Love, expected not to return this season, and Kyrie still caring for his injured knee, GSW could easily kill them off with daggers from the three-point line with the Splash Brothers being healthy (Klay Thomson and Steph Curry). With Love and Varejao injured, Mozgov and Lebron are the only two big man left, together with the aging Haywood to ward off the infamous screens from could give Klay or Steph a moment shoot their favorite three-point baskets. If role players Bogut, Lee, Livingston and Green, could stay healthy going to the finals, they might have a positive chance to win it all. Coach Steve Kerr, needs to formalize a strategy to negate Lebron’s power both on the offensive and defensive end.
On the other end, the Cleveland Cavaliers will have to play without help from young all-star big man Kevin Love and long-time Cavs Center Varejao. Kyrie Irving impending return is still questionable, but with the help from their mid season pick ups with Mozgov, Shumpert and Smith, it looks that they could still do with an all-star caliber line up that could match well with a healthy Golden State Warriors. At the end of the day, Lebron would still need to register numbers that could topple GSW’s shooting spree. Coach David Blatt needs to formalize a defensive strategy to stop the Splash brothers.