The Golden State Warriors are heavily favored over the Cleveland Cavaliers, and for good reason. As these two teams square up for a fourth straight Finals showdown, Golden State looks nearly insurmountable. The Rockets nearly came out on top. but poor shooting at inopportune times and an injury to Chris Paul derailed their chances, leading to the Warriors winning in seven. The Celtics also came up just shy in the East, falling to the Cavaliers in seven games after LeBron James happened. the difference in this series, however, is in the supporting casts.
No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. No. 2 Golden State Warriors
Bill Reiter: LeBron James is very, very, very good. His basketball team is not. Which means despite his prodigious talents, triple-double acts of brilliance and continued 40-point outbursts, the best team of this, and maybe any, generation roll to an easy win. The only blemish comes in a Game 3 win by a Cleveland team relieved to be back on its home court. Prediction: Warriors in 5.
Reid Forgrave: I feel somewhat subversive in saying the Warriors will drop a full two games to the Cavaliers. But that is how much I believe in LeBron James: He will be able to buy this Cavaliers team a couple of wins by himself. And we saw in the Western Conference finals how the Warriors can putz around: The lack of ball movement that Steve Kerr bemoaned in Game 4, the inability to close in Game 5. And yet, as Kerr said after Game 7, talent will win out. Just like it did against the Rockets. Prediction: Warriors in 6.
Brad Botkin: I will be shocked if this Cavs team gets even one game off the Warriors, who will get the breather they need in the Finals after being pushed to the absolute limit by the Rockets. It will be entertaining to watch just how much one guy can do in LeBron James, but this is a total mismatch. End of story. Prediction: Warriors in 4.
James Herbert: If Andre Iguodala is out or limited, LeBron James could will the Cavs to a victory or two. If the Warriors are at full strength, though, I just don't see it. Even if LeBron is playing 48 minutes every night and forcing Steve Kerr to send more help than he'd like to, even if Cleveland's shooters are reliable all series, do you believe in this Cavs team stopping Golden State consistently? I do not -- they just don't have the defensive-minded perimeter players that, say, the Rockets do. Prediction: Warriors in 5.
Colin Ward-Henninger: Is LeBron James capable of willing his inferior group to a win against one of the best teams of all time? Sure. Will he have the energy to do so, knowing full well that they have no chance to win the title? I doubt it. Despite Golden State's penchant for making things more interesting than they have to be, I can't see this ending any other way than a Warriors sweep. Prediction: Warriors in 4.
Jack Maloney: The Warriors could probably win this in four games without too much trouble considering the wide talent gap between these two teams. However, as they've shown throughout the regular season, and even into the playoffs, they don't seem to have the same drive to destroy teams as they did in the past. They'll come out flat in one of these games -- most likely Game 4 in Cleveland after they're already up 3-0 -- and start getting careless with the ball, and LeBron James will drag this Cavs team to a win. But that's all they'll get. The Warriors will win this series easily, despite the valiant effort "The King" is sure to put up. Prediction: Warriors in 5.
Chris Barnewall: I fear my decision to go against LeBron James, but if the Warriors defeating the Rockets proved anything it's that even the NBA's best need help. The Cavs are already less talented than previous years and Kevin Love is dealing with a concussion. I'm tempted to predict a sweep, but Andre Iguodala dealing with a knee injury really does matter. Give James a game at home and leave it at that. Prediction: Warriors in 5.
Kyle Boone: Golden State at its best is as unbeatable a team we've seen this millennium. When Durant, Curry and Klay Thompson are firing on all cylinders, no one is beating the Warriors - not even one of the best players in the history of the league in LeBron James. Prediction: Warriors in 6.