It may not be easy for the Cavs to win the NBA finals this time and repeat their 2016 performance. One of the biggest reasons behind this is that the team has to face a strong and determined Golden State Warriors side. What will bother them more is that they barely have enough veterans on their side to lead this young team to victory.
The team has famously been touted as a one-man show, thanks to LeBron James. The brightest star of this generation, everyone fades in comparison to what this player does on the court. He has changed the face of the game every time he has been around which is a testimony to his acute basketball skills and his dominance in the game. Unfortunately, experts and team insiders have unanimously asked other players to support him instead of depending on him heavily.
The team has to understand one thing- having James on their side neither makes them favorites nor gives them a psychological victory of any kind. The Warriors had to face several injuries this season and each of their four all-star players were hurt during the season. Their campaign moved ahead regardless, and they are ready to face the Cavaliers for the fourth time in the finals. They appear a formidable foe that the Cavs will have to overcome convincingly and like a team to make any impact.
Coach Tyronn Lue is acutely aware of the situation. He is depending on James, Tristan Thompson, JR Smith, and Kevin Love- all team veterans who were a part of the 2016 finals winning team. Lue says that all of them share a great bond as they have played the last three finals together. He also said, “We approach this series looking to win.”
Kyle Korver was a part of the losing campaign of the team when they were defeated in the finals in just five games. Other players on the roster are new like Jeff Green and George Hill. Rodney Hood and Jordan Clarkson have both been a struggling liability for the team during the season.
From the gambling perspective, Cleveland is a clear loser, no matter how much Lue trumpet about the camaraderie between players and the good work that owner Dan Gilbert has done to build a good culture. The odds are stack against them like never before. The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas has a 10-to-1 chance that the Warriors will become champions. ESPN reports that the team is being counted as a +650 underdog. In fact, several oddsmakers are expecting them to be swept away completely. The team doesn’t have Irving, and nobody can match up to his potential.
Is the situation really this bad with the Cleveland boys? If we look at the stats, the story becomes clear. Kevin Love is the only player besides LeBron who has scored double-figure point in this season. He is currently under concussion protocol and may not even be available for Game 1. It doesn’t look likely that the team has a chance to win but a historic upset could also be in the making. We will have to watch out for Thursday’s game.