The NBA finals are here, and it looks like it could be a 12-round boxing match. In one corner, you have the current MVP Steph Curry, a 6’3″ Point Guard out of Davidson. In the other corner, you have three-time MVP and two-time NBA champion LeBron James, 6’8″ do-it-all basketball player.
The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers will meet to determine the NBA champion of the 2014-2015 season. Curry and his crew, including Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and former University of Utah Center Andrew Bogut, will have home court advantage as they take on the Cavaliers.
James and his Cavalier teammates are taking the path less traveled, or less preferred to travel. Kevin Love, who was traded before the season started, dislocated his shoulder and has been out since the first round. Kyrie Irving, the #1 overall pick from Duke in 2011 is hurt and not playing at the top of his game.
Behind the 2015 “Big Three” in Cleveland is an Australian point guard that played his college ball at St. Mary’s, Matthew Dellavedova, who BYU fans would remember by his half court heroics at the Marriott Center in Provo.
If James can power his team to his third NBA championship, his legacy will forever benefit.
After 82 games in the regular season, The Golden State Warriors compiled a record of 67-15 and a 10.1 point differential on the season. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ 82 games resulted in a record of 53-29 with a point differential of 4.5.
Both teams took similar paths in the playoffs by sweeping the opening opponent. The Warriors took care of the New Orleans Pelicans in four games as the Cavaliers beat the Boston Celtics in four games of their own. The second round caused for a scare as both teams fell down 2-1 before each team’s superstar took over to win three straight games and advance their team to the Conference Finals.
The conference finals were similar but not the results. The Cavaliers swept the Atlanta Hawks and made the series look like a first-round matchup rather than a conference final. The Warriors came out hot and won the first three games against the Houston Rockets while falling in game 4 but winning game 5 in their home arena.
As these two teams start up the 2015 NBA finals, ‘experts’ don’t give the Cavaliers and LeBron James a chance. Some have called James the underdog in the series, to which he replied, “I’m never the underdog.”
James was proclaimed the “Chosen One” by Sports Illustrated as he was on the cover of the famous magazine while still in high school, yet doesn’t consider himself the underdog. For good reason, the 6’8, 250-pound basketball player has had a target on his back to be the next Michael Jordan, and while he wears #23 to honor his childhood idol, he doesn’t like the comparison.
James created hate for himself by leaving his hometown in 2010 and heading to Miami to play for the Heat, with fellow friends Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. “The Decision” that was an hour-and-a-half program, originally aired on ESPN to simply announce “I’m taking my talents to South Beach.”
For some, the decision was hated, but some loved it, and it gave James—the best player in the league—a chance to win a championship and create a legacy like his idol, Mike. After four straight finals appearances, including two championships sandwiched in between two losses, James decided to go back home.
Many fans, who at one point burned his jersey when he left, had to re-buy the famous James #23 Cleveland jersey to show support to a local hero. These finals are the most important of his career. If he loses, his overall record is 2-4, but if he wins, he will be 3-3 overall and could bring a professional championship to the city of Cleveland for the first time in 51 years.
The series is currently set at 3-2 in favor of the Warriors. For Cleveland, their chances of glory are fading, but like every thing, the game isn’t over till the fat lady sings.