Lanthorn staff predicts NBA Finals outcome between Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors
Robbie Triano: Cavaliers in 7 games
Let's get the record straight: The Warriors are going to win this series. They have the most star power, offensive and defensive weapons, one of the best home crowds in any sport, and—oh yeah, I almost forgot—they added Kevin Durant to an already star-studded roster.
But I am part a man of pride and part a man who hates everything about Kevin Durant. I mean, who leaves the second best team in the conference to join the team that just eliminated them from the playoffs? If you ask me, it's a bush-league move by Durant to chase the championship ring like a "gold digger."
With that being said, I
want need to see the Cavaliers defy another impossible task for the second year in a row. The only man in the NBA who can take down this Goliath of a team wears number 23, and his name isn't Michael Jordan: It's Lebron James. He's the best basketball player anybody my age has ever seen, and it's time for him to cement himself as one of the greatest athletes of all time. But the only way his team can claim the rubber match title is if teammates like Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson play to their maximum potential to wear down the Warriors.
Brady McAtamney: Cavaliers in 6 games
The Dark Knight. The Godfather. Star Wars (thrice).
Audiences adore those pinnacles of entertainment, which come in packages of three.
Now, we add the Cavaliers versus the Warriors to the mix. Golden State won the NBA crown back in 2015, backed by almighty MVP Stephen Curry, firecracker Klay Thompson and wild card Draymond Green. The ensuing year, Cleveland famously captured Part II (and their first title ever) after being down—you know the story—three games to one to the greatest regular season teams in league history.
Now, fresh faces enter the fold, and more is on the line than ever before in this historic rivalry between two legendary squads. Will Kevin Durant finally capture a crown after controversially cruising out of OKC? Can LeBron James silence the doubters and prove that 2016 was no fluke?
Despite being the first team to ever go 12-0 through its first three series of the Playoffs, the Warriors will not have their way with the Cavaliers (who were, by the way, a healthy 12-1 in their games leading up to the finals). Unfortunately for the Dubs and their "loyal" fan base, they will not roll over James, Irving and company, and the Cavaliers will own the third act of the legendary trilogy, cementing James' status as the greatest of all time.
Arpan Lobo: Warriors in 6 games
The sad thing about this year’s edition of Cavaliers versus Warriors is that one of these teams will be remembered as losers. The 2015-16 Warriors went 73-9, erased a monumental deficit in the conference finals and will only ever be remembered for blowing a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals, and that is extremely unfair. You can save the diatribe about participation trophies because both of these teams are special. Going a combined 25-1 in the playoffs is an insane feat. Golden State didn’t lose a single game. Cleveland, meanwhile, tossed all-stars like Paul George and DeMar DeRozan to the side as if they were mediocre competition. Unfortunately for Cleveland, the Warriors decided that the only way to improve last year’s record-setting team was to add a once-in-a-generation talent. I expect this series to be an absolute slugfest, and Kevin Durant gives Golden State just enough firepower to take the lead in this trilogy.
Danny Schwartz: Warriors in 5 games
When the buzzer went off in game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, and the Cleveland Cavaliers successfully came back from a 3-1 series deficit to beat the Golden State Warriors and win the NBA Championship, Golden State leaders Steph Curry and Draymond Green stayed on the floor and watched as the Cleveland players celebrated. They wanted to remember the feeling so that next year, this wouldn’t happen again. The Warriors were embarrassed. Curry, Durant, Green and Thompson know they can’t be embarrassed again, and they will have a killer mindset this entire series. The team that wants this the most will win it, and convincingly. For that reason, the third straight Warriors/Cavaliers NBA Finals will go a lot like the first one compared to the second one. The Warriors will shut the critics up once-and-for-all that they’re the best team in the NBA.
Brendan McMahon: Cavaliers in 7 games
The Warriors are loaded and may be the best team offensively in NBA history. There are no holes in the Warriors lineup for anyone except Lebron James to exploit. James averages nearly a triple-double scoring 33 points a game against the Warriors in the playoffs. Expect a big series from not just James but Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. The Cavaliers' lone road win will come in game seven to knock off the Warriors for back-to-back seasons.