2016 NBA Playoffs: Experts unanimously pick Warriors over Cavs in Finals rematch

The Warriors have achieved so much in the past two seasons: They've won an NBA title, set a record for most wins (73) in a regular season and their superstar has been named MVP in two consecutive years. Most recently, however, Golden State rallied from a 3-1 hole in the Western finals for a shot at back-to-back championships.

The Cavaliers finished the regular season as the No. 1 seed in the East and began the playoffs with 10 straight wins. Most importantly, Cleveland has managed to stay healthy, while LeBron James appears more rested than ever as he prepares for his sixth consecutive Finals appearance.

And so we have ourselves a rematch of last year's Finals between Cleveland and Golden State.

So who wins? Our CBS experts weigh in.

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Can LeBron James get the better of Steph Curry and the Warriors in their Finals rematch? USATSI
Experts Picks: 2016 NBA FINALS
No. 1 seed Warriors vs. No. 1 seed Cavaliers

Ken Berger

in 7

Bill Reiter

in 6

Zach Harper

in 7

James Herbert

in 6

Matt Moore

in 6

Ananth Pandian

in 7

As you can clearly see, our experts are all in on Golden State repeating as champions. Why no love for Cleveland? Here's the explanation behind each pick:

Berger (Warriors in 7): The Warriors are riding a wave after coming back from 3-1 down against the Thunder. What we will find out is whether this experience has made them even better and more dangerous, or whether it exposed some flaws that the Cavs can exploit. Both teams will score, but I'm not sure how Cleveland stops Golden State. And at some point, as the Thunder learned, they will need some stops to beat them -- especially at Oracle. As great as Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are, LeBron James is still better. I haven't seen him this healthy and determined in a long time. He was good enough to push the Warriors to six games by himself, so now that he has help, I don't see how this doesn't go the distance. I also don't see the Warriors losing their championship in a deciding game at home.

Reiter (Warriors in 6): Steph Curry is on a mission, the Warriors reclaimed their swagger after coming back in the Western Conference finals from a 3-1 series deficit, and their championship experience and underrated defense will, again, prove too much for the Cleveland Cavaliers. It's true this will be a vastly different Cavs team -- LeBron James will have help this time around from a healthy Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. But they'll find a vastly different Warriors team, too -- one that won 73 games, utterly believes in themselves, and has been through and won enough wars in 2016 to win one last battle and four more games.

Harper (Warriors in 7): Tyronn Lue wants to push the pace against the Warriors and show the world the Cavaliers' offense and firepower is as good as anybody's. And he has a point. The Cavs are shooting the ball from 3-point range in the postseason as well as any team ever has. They have incredible offensive weapons. But that's not the way you beat the Warriors. You beat the Warriors by making sure they can't get into a rhythm on offense. You beat them by playing great defense and slowing the pace of the game down. Running with this team is a horrible idea. Rarely does it work and when it does, it feels like a fluke, rather than a solution. Unless the Cavs can make this series ugly, I just don't see them coming out on top.

Herbert (Warriors in 6): Cleveland shouldn't be dismissed because it employs a man named LeBron James and it has made an otherworldly amount of 3-pointers at a high percentage in the playoffs. If the Warriors get sloppy, the Cavs will punish them in transition. Overall, though, this is a bad matchup for Cleveland, a team with real defensive flaws. After what Golden State just went through, scoring should seem relatively easy for Stephen Curry and company.

Moore (Warriors in 6): I'm giving Cleveland two games to be respectful, but it's just hard to see them competing with the Warriors' arsenal. Wait, that's exactly what I said about the Thunder. Um, well, ignore that. The Cavaliers have more question marks defensively. They have the kinds of perimeter weapons to hang with the Warriors offensively, but from what we've seen this season, their defense is just not good enou... wait, I said that about the Thunder, too. Hmm. OK, how about this. In the end, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson will make enough shots to clear the four victories they need to, and we'll all spend time debating whether the fact that LeBron James has made so many Finals makes up in any way for his 2-5 record in them.

Pandian (Warriors in 7): The Golden State Warriors are the best regular-season of all time and showed in the playoffs that they can handle any adversity that comes their way. No Stephen Curry? No problem. Down 3-1 in a series? No problem. But while Golden State should be able to defeat the Cavs, Cleveland has the self-proclaimed "best player in the world" in LeBron James. And even though Curry may have surpassed James in that regard, LeBron is still LeBron and should be able to lead his team to victory throughout the series. Factoring in Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving not only being healthy but playing at a high-level, the Cavs should make it interesting for the Warriors. However, Golden State has the depth and the superstar power to weather the best of Cleveland and in the end emerge victorious.

Regardless of who wins or loses, the 2016 Finals should be a real treat for NBA fans. Game 1 tips off Thursday.

Unlike in last year's Finals, the Cavs will have the Big Three healthy and ready to go. USATSI
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