The 2016 NBA Finals are set to get underway on Thursday, and despite some drama in recent weeks, particularly in the Western Conference, this year’s matchup is a repeat of last year’s NBA Finals, with the Warriors looking to defeat the Cavaliers for a second consecutive championship.
After setting an NBA regular-season record with 73 wins, the Warriors are the odds-on favorites to win the title. FiveThirtyEight.com currently gives Golden State a 69% chance to take the series, and those odds are about in line with those provided by Las Vegas line-makers (Twitter link), who have installed the Cavaliers as about 2-to-1 underdogs.
The Warriors are led by Stephen Curry, unanimously voted this season’s MVP, and Klay Thompson, who has looked like one of the league’s top players during the postseason, racking up an incredible 77 three-pointers so far (J.R. Smith is second, with 49). After eliminating the Rockets and Trail Blazers without Curry at full health, the Warriors stormed back from a 3-1 deficit against a very talented Oklahoma City team, and certainly look poised to repeat as champs.
Still, this Cavaliers team isn’t the same one Golden State dispatched in the 2015 Finals. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are fully healthy this time around, and outside of a brief hiccup in Toronto during the Eastern Conference Finals, Cleveland has looked unstoppable so far in the playoffs. The Pistons, Hawks, and Raptors aren’t exactly a murderer’s row of postseason opponents, but the Cavs did what they were supposed to in those series, winning 12 of 14 games, and could be peaking at the right time.
“We’re better built to start the Finals than we were last year,” LeBron James said on Tuesday, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. “Doesn’t matter who it’s against. I mean, that’s not a headline. It’s obvious.”
Today’s topic is pretty straightforward: Who will win the NBA Finals? Does this version of the Cavaliers have a legit chance to pull off the upset, or are the Warriors simply too talented to let their record-setting season end with a loss in the Finals?
Cast your vote in our poll, and weigh in below in the comments section to share your predictions for the series!