Jan 18, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) reacts beside Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) in the third quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Finals Preview: Game 1 Cleveland at Golden State

LeBron and the Cavaliers are out for revenge as they prepare for Game 1 of the NBA Finals. The Warriors took the series in six games last year, with Stephen Curry averaging 26 points per game and Andre Iguodala smothering LeBron on defense. But, with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love healthy and able to play in this year’s NBA Finals, the Cavaliers are set to give the Warriors a run for their money.

Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron is looking to turn his NBA Finals woes around. He is making his 6th straight NBA Finals appearance, going 2-4 total and coming off two straight finals losses to the Spurs and Warriors. After almost singlehandedly pushing the Warriors to Game 7 last year, LeBron hopes that the addition of his other two wing-men will push them over the top and into an NBA title.

We’ve seen what the Cavs have been able to do when they’re firing on all cylinders. For instance, their Game 2 win against the Hawks in the second round, where they set an NBA-record by making 25 three-pointers. It is the Cavalier’s defense that will need to step up in order for them to win the series.

Anchored by the splash brothers, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the Warriors bring the number one offense in the NBA to the table. This constant threat of 3s, along with the deadly pick-and-roll offense featuring Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, will push the Cavs to their limit. According to SportVU data provided to ESPN.com, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love ranked second to last among 119 pairings when it came to pick-and-roll defense, allowing 1.2 points per possession when involving a pick-and-roll between the two.

With both teams bringing the constant threat of raining down 3-pointers, the outcome will be determined by who can guard the 3 the best. Draymond Green harped on the fact that transition defense is the key to limiting 3 point attempts.

Reigning MVP Stephen Curry and the Warriors will look to continue their unprecedented performance. After setting the NBA record for most wins in a regular season with 73, a second straight NBA title would be the icing on the cake. The Warriors are a 5.5 point favorite in Game 1, according to Westgate Sports Books.


Be sure to tune in for live coverage of tonight’s game beginning at 8 p.m. on ESPN Gainesville 95.3 FM.

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