4. Cleveland Cavaliers vs. 2. Golden State Warriors
I tried to warn you at the beginning of the season that this was likely to happen for a fourth consecutive year. At the start of the 2018 NBA Playoffs, everyone started to jump off the Cavalier bandwagon when they were thoroughly outplayed by the Indiana Pacers. Cleveland managed to beat them in seven games and then went on to sweep the top seeded Toronto Raptors in the second round. When the Boston Celtics couldn’t finish them off with a 3-2 series advantage, I knew it was meant to be. I will agree that LeBron James is at his best right now with what he has to work with. If Kevin Love was fully healthy, it still would be an impressive performance by James. What he does now against one of the greatest teams in NBA history in Golden State will be something to watch closely. Cleveland was no match for them last year and that was with Kyrie Irving and a healthy Kevin Love. Last years matchup lasted 5 games. It could be shorter this time around.
The Warriors took care of the Spurs and Pelicans in 5 games, but we knew their test would come against the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals and they almost failed. The outcome could have been different if Chris Paul had been able to play the final two games of the series, but even if he was healthy I still believe the Warriors would have won Game 6 at home. Being in pressure situations many times already, they would have won Game 7 in Houston with a healthy Paul for the Rockets. Golden State dominated this matchup last year and the main reason was having Kevin Durant. The boast the same team that won in 5 games last year and the strategy hasn’t changed. Shoot as many shots as possible until the final buzzer. Obviously they’ll have to play better defense than they showed in the Western Conference Finals, but if you can slow down LeBron James that should be enough.
Players to Watch: F LeBron James and F Kevin Durant
Who Wins: Warriors in 6 games