…and then there were two. Two completely different stories. Two completely different roads to the Finals. Same goal. A NBA Championship.
For the Golden State Warriors it has been 40 years since their last chance at the Larry O’Brien trophy but the Steph Curry powered team has shown all year they could end up right here when the smoke cleared…and they did. While it may seem unremarkable that a MVP winner would lead his squad to a Finals appearance, it is the way they accomplished it that makes it every bit of amazing.
One word: Chemistry. You can have all the talent in the world but if everyone is not on the same page, it is hard to reach that max potential. On the court, the Warriors put together the best regular season home record (46-3) since the 1996-7 Chicago Bulls making it an almost impossible road for their Western Conference opponents to reach the finals thanks to home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
But how would that translate into post season success? They put an exclamation on that answer tonight beating MVP runner-up James Harden and the Houston Rockets 104-90 after dominating every series (vs. NO 4-0, vs. Mem 4-2, vs. Hou 4-1) with unselfish ball movement, gritty defense and the high energy we have come to expect from Golden State. Despite getting banged up as Steph Curry landed awkwardly on his head in Game 4 and a repeat concussion scare tonight as Klay Thompson took a knee to the face, the Warriors look poised to finish their incredible 2014-2015 campaign on top.
Only one thing in their way. Lebron James (who is making his fifth straight NBA Finals appearance) and the Cleveland Cavaliers. They split their regular season meetings with the home team emerging victorious both times.
Things To Watch:
It will be interesting to see the two first year head coaches Steve Kerr and David Blatt gameplan against one another on the biggest stage possible. Kerr may have an advantage being a NBA champion himself but coaching and playing are two different worlds. Yet and still, advantage: Steve Kerr.
Kyrie Irving vs. Steph Curry. Two of the most talented young point guards in the NBA going head to head, sounds like the recipe for a memorable NBA Finals. Although Irving has been battling tendinitis in his left knee, don’t expect to see signs of it with seven days to rest before Game 1.
Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes (dropped 24 points in Game 5 tonight) vs. Tristan Thompson, JR Smith (torched the Hawks for 28 points in Game 1). Role Players have been and will always be one of the biggest deciding factors the deeper you go into the playoffs. Advantage: Warriors, too many consistent weapons.
2015 Warriors, a team of destiny? Only time will tell. Be sure to tune in June 4th at 9pm EST for Game 1 and join in the conversation via @SwaysUniverse throughout the NBA Finals as #DubNation looks to bring a title back to The Bay.