For basketball fans, it doesn’t get any bigger than this. LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers will not only look to become the first team in NBA Finals history to come back from a 3-1 hole, but they will hope to end the city of Cleveland’s decades-long title drought. In their way stand the Golden State Warriors, who will look to win their second consecutive title and (possibly) make a case as the greatest team in NBA history. Read who the Check Down staff are prediction to win:
My heart says to take Cleveland. I think that they’ve figured out a defensive game plan that works against Golden State; or at least one that gives them a good chance to win. By forcing the ball out of Stephen Curry’s hands early in possessions and by limiting space for Klay Thompson (and Curry, for that matter) to get clean looks, it will be up to Golden State’s supporting players- Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green, etc.- to make shots. I’m not sure they can. I also expect to see another dominant performance from LeBron James, particularly since Iguodala may not be 100 percent healthy.
However, my brain says to take the mighty Warriors. Similar to other great teams in sports, I think Golden State thrives when their backs are against the wall. We saw this happen in the Thunder series. In short, the Warriors at home might be too much for the Cavaliers to overcome.
If this game was played ten times, I think the Warriors would win eight of them. Luckily for Cleveland, this Game 7 will only be played once. Somehow, some way, the Cavaliers-led by LeBron James and, bold prediction, J.R. Smith-win the title. Cavs 104, Warriors 100
I had the Warriors winning the series from the beginning, so I’m going down with the ship. I think the main factor here is home court advantage. During the regular season and postseason, Golden State has been electric at Oracle Arena. Sure, the Cavaliers stole Game 5 away from them, but that had a lot to do with some untimely injuries and the suspension of Draymond Green. As long as the Warriors can limit LeBron and suppress his supporting cast, I like their chances to win. After all, we are talking about arguably the best NBA team in history right here. I predict that the Warriors will come out hungry in Game 7 and that we’ll see big nights from Steph, Draymond, and Klay as they go on to close out the series and bring another championship to the Bay Area. Warriors 112, Cavs 94
It’s time to put up or shut up for Stephen Curry. The truly great players do not allow themselves to get disrespected the way the Cavs disrespected him in Game 6. He needs to show all the haters why he’s the back to back MVP. The true key to this game though will be on the defensive end. The Warriors don’t need to stop LeBron, which is an impossible task at this time. They just need to make sure Kyrie Irving and J.R. Smith aren’t able to be as efficient from the field as they’ve been the past two games. Coupled with the fact that the game will be at Oracle, it will make for an extremely difficult environment for LeBron and the Cavs. If the Warriors can keep both J.R. and Irving in check and feed off the home court energy, they will hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy come Sunday night. Warriors 107, Cavs 98
Game 7 will come down to the stars, yes, but it will also develop based on which team plays better as a unit. The Cavs finally showed their depth in Game 6, going to guys like Mo Williams and Dahntay Jones to pick up quality minutes. When you look at the adversity this Cleveland team has gone through this year, it’s pretty impressive to realize that they are playing their best basketball at the perfect time. In Game 7, I expect LeBron James to finish the job, because he knows better than anyone that his legacy is at stake. Looking at how these finals have played out, home-court advantage has been a non-factor on several occasions. With that in mind, I think the Cavaliers are the better team right now, and if they play as a cohesive unit tomorrow night on the offensive and defensive side, they’ll send the Warriors to the depths of the 2007 Patriots–achievers of regular-season greatness, but ultimately big-stage failure. Cavs 108, Warriors 103
As a Celtics fan, this one’s an easy one. As an overall sporting fan, it’s even easier. How can you not take the NBA’s record team at home? The Warriors showed an incredible amount of gut in their 3 must-win games against the Thunder, and they recovered incredibly well being down 1 game to 3. The Cavaliers have showed that they have a lot of game and gut, but my heart and mind both say that Game 7 at Oracle will be a great game, but the Warriors will come out on top. You saw it in Game’s 5 and 6: LeBron stepped up for his team and did what he does best. I predict the unanimous MVP to do the same. Expect a 40 point game from one of the Splash Brothers and a triple-double from Draymond. Expect the Golden State bench to out-assist the Cavs bench. We might even see a 15-point game from someone like Leandro Barbosa. To me, Barbosa has been a force this series. Every time he gets the ball, there seems to be a sense of elite confidence in him to score the basketball. Long story short, this was a no-brainer for me. Rooting for the record-breaking Warriors at home. Warriors 111, Cavs 93
The Cavs will put up a fight, but as with the 2005 Pistons, the 2010 Celtics and the 2013 Spurs, trying to overcome a superior team in a road Game 7 will just be too much. As I’ve said before, NBA playoff series very rarely end in upsets, and a 73 win team failing to win a title would be a major upset. Expect a surprising number of jitters early, a valiant effort from LeBron throughout and maybe even a double digit first half lead for Cleveland. As the game goes on though, the Warriors will assert their offensive dominance with both Splash Brothers on target. Cleveland’s one chance to match them will be to absolutely kill it on the offensive boards, so some combination of Draymond Green, Festus Ezeli and Anderson Varejao has to effectively block out Tristan Thompson. As long as they do that, the game may not be close by the fourth quarter. Warriors 108, Cavs 90
Before Game 6, I said that if the Cavaliers win, they’re winning it all. There is just simply no way that the Cavaliers could come this far and not seal the deal. LeBron is the best player of our generation, and during Game 7 he will etch his name into NBA lore. He is tired of the comparisons and the accusations. He has his destiny in his hands, and he is a scary man when he is on a mission. The Cavs have proven their ability to beat the Warriors in Oakland; and with Andrew Bogut out and Andre Igoudala ailing, I don’t think Steve Kerr’s squad will be able to stop King James. If the Warriors are shooting well early, they could give the Cavaliers some trouble, but I like the Cavaliers in a nail-biter. They finally have their act together on both sides of the ball, and boy are they hot. Cavaliers 113, Warriors 110.
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