Well, the Golden State Warriors overcame the odds to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference finals after trailing 3-1 in the series. The impressive display of perseverance means the Warriors have a chance to win the title for a second consecutive season.
Following a 73-win regular season and a historic comeback, the Warriors now have the opportunity to be considered the best team ever.
Meanwhile, the Ohio-born James will try to deliver Cleveland its first major sports championship since Lyndon Johnson was president.
The championship series starts Thursday in Oakland, Calif. Here are five things to watch in the series:
- Everything comes in threes
Threes have often been the charm for the Golden State Warriors. Led by Steph Curry, the Warriors set the NBA regular season record with 1,077 3-pointers made. Curry crushed his previous individual record of 286 by making 402 treys this season. Golden State not only attempts a lot of 3-pointers, but it made 41.6 percent of its shots from long range.
- All you need is Love
If the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to win the title, it can’t be the King James show alone. How Kevin Love plays will likely go a long way in determining whether Cleveland can find success. During this postseason, the Cavaliers are 9-0 when Love scores 16 points or more. During Cleveland’s two playoff losses, Love scored a total of 13 points.
- Rested or rusty?
It’s an age-old question. Is it better to be rested, or does a team lose its rhythm when it has too much time off? Golden State will start the finals just three days after winning Game 7 against Oklahoma City. Cleveland, which has played 14 playoff games compared to Golden State’s 17, hasn’t played since May 27.
- Hand in the face
While the Golden State Warriors like to put up a lot of deep shots on offense, they are equally as aggressive on defense. The Warriors average 66.2 contested shots per game, which is 9.1 more than the Cavaliers. Golden State’s Draymond Green is the most defensive-minded, contesting 15.9 shots per game.
- Will the real MVP stand up?
LeBron James wants to show that he’s the best player in the NBA. In order to do that, however, he must lead his team to a championship without the help of his friends from South Beach. Meanwhile, Steph Curry will try to prove that his MVP honor wasn’t the result of a team award.
Mark Schremmer has been a sports reporter since 2000 and has covered games at the professional, college and high school levels for The Topeka Capital-Journal and The Joplin Globe.
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