Few thought the Cavs would have as much success as we did in the regular season. Few thought we’d storm to the Eastern Conference Finals. Very few experts predicted we’d have a clean sweep of the first seeded Atlanta Hawks, a team that dominated the Conference with 60 wins. The Cavaliers defied all odds and stormed into the NBA Finals for only the second time in team history. The Cavaliers have yet to win a single game in the NBA Finals, their previous appearance in 2007 ending with four straight losses against the San Antonio Spurs. Most Cavaliers fans, including this writer, have gone their entire lives waiting for a year like this one.
The loyal fans of the Wine and Gold back in 2007 knew that the Cavs’ victory over the once-dominant Detroit Pistons in 6 games wasn’t the pinnacle of the 8 month NBA season. After struggling to get past the Pistons in the last season, the Cavaliers were able to handle one of the best teams in the 2000s. The Cavaliers played hero ball throughout the series, including the emergence of point guard Daniel Gibson. Fans had fun with the process, coining the term “Shoot it Boobie! Shoot it!” But the 2007 Cavaliers were too inexperienced to really compete with the Spurs: in 2007, the only player with previous NBA Finals experience was starting point guard Eric Snow. Snow was at the end of his career and wasn’t producing anywhere near where he did when he played in the Finals with Allen Iverson. Overall the Cavaliers were brutally beaten by the Spurs and disposed of in a quick four game sweep.
But that was then, and this is now. Let’s look at the 2014-2015 Cavaliers. This team is probably best Cavaliers team in history, and it’s loaded with NBA Finals experience. Compared to the one player with Finals experience on the 2007 team, the 2015 team has 7 players that have played in the Finals and 6 of them have won at least 1, with 3 players having won two championships. The NBA Finals is a tough environment. It is completely different than the rest of the Playoffs. Many former champions know that “Getting to the Finals is the easy part, winning the four games is the hard part.” The pressure for this team to win is immense and overflowing, even though when LeBron came back home he told fans not to expect anything crazy for his first year back, although no one needs to second take the fact that we’re in the Finals.
Let’s theorize that the Rockets pull off the impossible and come back to win their series against the Warriors. Looking at the Rockets, it’s evident that the team is fairly NBA Finals experienced. With four of their players having NBA Finals experience is scary enough, let alone the fact that two of the players start (Howard and Ariza) and the other two are key players off the bench (Terry and Brewer) for the Rockets. It’s tough to spend much time talking about the Rockets being in the Finals considering no team has ever come back to win a 7 game series after being down 0-3. However if the Cavaliers were to play the Rockets, in terms of experience it would be a fantastic series. Compared to the Warriors, the Rockets are much more experienced in terms of the bright lights that are known to be the NBA Finals.
With game 5 between the Rockets and Warriors being tonight, the Warriors have the chance to finish out the series tonight and punch their ticket to play the Cavaliers in the Finals. The Warriors roster consists of young players and much older players. A team featuring veterans like Shaun Livingston and Leandro Barbosa, while also featuring the young All-Stars Klay Thompson and Steph Curry, is lacking a very huge thing needed for the Finals most of the time. From top to the bottom the entire Warriors roster has never seen an NBA Finals as a player, the only person in the organization with NBA Finals experience is the head coach Steve Kerr. Like mentioned earlier, not having experience for the Finals can result in being swept right into defeat. Many believe whoever the Cavaliers play will result in a 5-7 game series.
For the Cavaliers to defy everyone’s expectations was great enough, now that the Cavaliers are in the Finals. It’s hard to think that the Cavaliers will lose now that they’ve blown every team out of the water that they’ve played. LeBron James played a decent regular season and finished 3rd in MVP voting at the end of the season, however it’s obvious that LeBron has played superbly and over and beyond any other player in the NBA during these playoffs. King James is willing the team to victory since his game winner against the Bulls in game 4. In 2007, James was embarrassed by Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and the Spurs. In 2015 it’s LeBron’s turn to start a dynasty here in Cleveland and show everyone that it doesn’t matter who he plays with, HE WILL WIN AT ANY COST! So before the Finals start, let’s pray for the status of the air conditioner in Quicken Loans Arena, Oracle Arena and Toyota Center ;).