It all comes down to tonight. The series which everyone wanted to see hasn’t quite been as entertaining as it was hyped up to be, yet nevertheless, basketball fans will get what they had hoped for, a Game 7. Tonight in Oracle Arena, the NBA season will officially come to a close as a champion is crowned. Will it be two in a row for the historic Warriors or will the resilient Cavaliers finally break through and deliver a championship to Cleveland?
How we’ve got here has been well-documented over the last few days and really isn’t worth mentioning because none of that matters anymore. Who won Game 1, or who won Game 6 has no bearing on what will transpire on the floor tonight. These teams have played each other six times over the last two weeks. Golden State knows what Cleveland is trying to do, and Cleveland knows what Golden State is trying to do. There are no surprises. The players are the same and the coaches are the same. Both teams will be at full strength, with the exception of Andrew Bogut for the Warriors, as Andre Iguodala has stated he will play. That is why this game will come down to who’s superstars play the best.
In my original preview of the series, I stated whoever played better between Steph Curry and LeBron James would win this series for their respective teams. I feel no differently today. Up to this point James has thoroughly outplayed Curry. Whether you look at the stats or just use the “eye test,” it really isn’t up for debate. Curry, the reigning two-time NBA MVP, has had a couple decent games but has not come close to matching the impact James has had on this series. James is coming off back-to-back 41 point performances where he willed the Cavaliers to victories in both Oakland and Cleveland. Couple those performances with the recent uptick in Kyrie Irving’s play and it explains why many people are going against history and picking the Cavaliers tonight. However, I am not one of those people.
There have been 18 NBA Finals Game 7’s with the home team being 15-3 in those contests. After tonight I expect that to be 16-3. Some of the questionable calls which went against Golden State on the road in Game 6 should not tonight on their home floor. The Warriors’ slogan this season, “Strength in Numbers,” will not be any more applicable than it will be tonight. The home crowd will be raucous and exhilarated at the possibility of seeing their team win on their home court after winning in Cleveland last year. Finally, I think tonight is the night Curry breaks out and demonstrates why he was the first ever unanimous MVP in the history of the league. Since being kicked out of Game 6 for the mouth guard incident, the league’s most popular player has been exceedingly criticized. Expect Curry to play with a chip on his shoulder in an effort to will his team to victory and put an exclamation point on the best season in NBA history.