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For the second straight year the Golden State Warriors were chasing an accomplishment that no other team in the NBA had achieved. Unfortunately for them, the Cleveland Cavaliers were having no part of it and a Cavs blowout in game 4 eliminated the chance of seeing our first ever sweep through the playoffs in 2017. Now the series shifts back to the Oracle Arena where the Warriors look to wrap up a gentlemen’s sweep and if they can’t, get ready for drama!
If you were going to put a number to it, what percent chance do you give Cleveland tonight?
Mikash: I’d say about 10%. The Cavs are going to have to be perfect to overcome the Warriors talent and hostile environment, that or the Warriors have to put up a dud. Golden State kind of already put up their dud of the playoffs in game 4 so tough to see them doing it twice in a row.
Douglas: A big part of competition is winning the mental battle. There has been so much hype about the Warriors being unbeatable and I’m sure that got into the Cavs’ head a little. Now that Cleveland has not only won a game, but by quite a lot, the possibility to win is there in the minds of the Cavaliers roster. I'll give them 30% in tonight's game because they’re playing in California. In Cleveland I’d give them 40%.
Blackburn: 20%. It’s hard to have much confidence in Cavs, given that they needed to make 24 threes and the excessive referee drama to win. I don’t think Stephen Curry plays as passively as he did last game, and I definitely don’t think the Cavs shoot over 53% from three on heavy attempts. The Warriors will lock up and win it in Cali.
Mares: 10%. The Cavs played a near perfect game in game 4, set a handful on NBA records, and the game still felt competitive up until the last 5 minutes or so. It will take a similar effort tonight and I, for one, am not counting on the Cavs making 24 threes again.
More likely to be on the Cavs roster next season: Kevin Love or Kyrie Irving?
Mikash: I’d definitely go with Kyrie. I think Love will be gone. The Cavs have to figure out a way to squeeze everything they can out of LeBron’s waning years and this roster as clearly needs an upgrade to beat Golden State. Kyrie is younger and a better overall player so keep him and move Love and other assets to go after Paul George.
Douglas: Irving all the way. Love tends to be inconsistent and his effort can be spotty. The Cavs don't have a ton of fire power so it will be important for them to focus on keeping play makers and scorers on the roster. Irving is also a better complement to LeBron James than Love.
Blackburn: I’m gonna go with Kyrie as well. He’s younger and more valuable to the Cavs than Love is, given LeBron’s ability to play power forward. There are very few good candidates to trade for at point guard this year, but a Love-Paul George/Jimmy Butler swap? That makes sense in the short term.
Mares: I think Kyrie Irving is a lock. The Cavs seem to value him more than Love and even though I think Love will return as well, I could see the Cavs making a play for a more versatile defender, like, say, Paul George.
Which Warriors player is the first to leave this dynasty?
Mikash: Klay Thompson makes the most sense. If nothing else, unless you think Curry or Durant walk this offseason, Thompson’s contract will be the first to run out. He also feels like the least key piece of the puzzle. The Warriors have plenty of scoring and shooting from the wings with Kevin Durant and Steph Curry, Thompson sort of feels like overkill right now.
Douglas: That all depends. If the Warriors don't win a couple of titles while Durant is under contract I suspect he will leave. However, I think Klay Thompson is a more likely candidate for immediate departure. I would love to see Thompson play for the Celtics if he does leave. Boston needs some help on defense and while Thompson’s strengths lie mostly in scoring he's also a good perimeter defender. Thompson and Isaiah Thomas would be an interesting backcourt combo.
Blackburn: I hate to keep agreeing with Mikash up there, but Thompson is definitely the right answer. He’s the least needed of the four, and he’s had his role altered the most. I’m sure he would like a larger role, but the next time everyone is up for extension, I expect the Warriors to deal him for cheaper role players. He’s a guy that the Nuggets might make a run at, but that’s a different conversation.
Mares: I don’t think any of them are leaving anytime soon. Durant seems happy as a clam getting all of the positive attention and accolades while getting to coast through the fire with three elite players beside him. Curry and Green also seem like locks to ride this wave for the foreseable future. Klay is the only one I could see leaving but after two or three championships, why leave?
The Denver Nuggets need perimeter defense and have cap space, Andre Iguodala is a free agent and wants to get paid...just sayin.
Mikash: For the most part, everyone from the Iguodala drama in Denver is gone, save for Kenneth Faried but for all we know he was just following orders. Look, the fit is great, but man the outcry would be absurd.
Douglas: If there were a way for all the parties to move forward and bury the hatchet then Iguodala would be a great fit for what the Nuggets needs right now. However, I think the Nuggets need to move on and focus on building something totally new and different. They’re well on their way.
Blackburn: Great player. Great team fit. The only issue is the likely mutual disinterest in a reunion. I wouldn’t want to go down that road again, and I’m 99% sure Josh Kroenke wouldn’t either.
Mares: Stop sayin.