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Tonight could be the final game of the 2016-17 season. All the hard work, blood, sweat, and sacrifice has lead to this point, with the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers meeting in Game Four, with a chance for a champion to be crowned.
The Warriors haven’t lost a single game in the postseason, and have an opportunity to create history as the first team to go undefeated through the playoffs. Don’t let a perfect postseason distract you from the fact that the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead against the Cavs last season - however, it’ll do a lot to help NBA fans forget about it.
Here’s a couple questions about what could be the culmination of the greatest postseason run ever seen.
Start off with an easy question - which team wins tonight?
Daniel Lewis (@minutemandan): The Warriors. They’ve been the better team all series, and they survived the best the Cavaliers could throw at them in Game Three.
Zach Mikash (@ZachMikash): I want to say Cavs, I want to believe that LeBron James will carry his team to victory, but Golden State is too much and a win tonight is the ultimate redemption for coming up short last season.
Ashley Douglas (@AshleyNBAHoops): I want the Cavs to win, but unfortunately I think the Warriors will take it. The Warriors simply have too much fire power to overcome. Cleveland put forth a Herculean effort in game 3, and it still wasn't enough. I will say that a sweep in the Finals is tough to watch.
Evan Fiala (@eefiala): LeBron will give every last ounce of energy in his body to try and will Cleveland to at least a gentleman’s sweep, but Golden State is going to put the Cavs out of their misery. I don’t think it will be close, either.
What have you learned in the NBA Finals this year?
Lewis: The future is so difficult to predict. It’s crazy to think that the Warriors have become what they are, and I hope that someday the Nuggets are able to reach this point, of being one game away from a championship. Also, Kevin Durant is a special player.
Mikash: That the Nuggets should avoid signing any aging high dollar free agents (Paul Milsap and Kyle Lowry come to mind). The next four years are the Warriors to lose, Denver should focus on continuing to grow their core and wait out this dynasty
Douglas: This year’s Finals have really showcased what team basketball looks like against a team that relies upon only a couple of players to get the job done. Although I'm not a fan of the superstar regime the Warriors have created, it’s nice to see a team that incorporates many players into the game plan.
Fiala: I’ve learned that every move Denver makes needs to be with the long-term view in mind. No need to go hard after older players in free agency, and really just focus on developing the young core they already have.
Which player takes home Finals MVP?
Lewis: It’d be peak NBA for JaVale McGee to get it, but I think it’s between Steph Curry and Kevin Durant. I’ll say Durant, just because it seems like a better story.
Mikash: Curry has had an incredible series, but the Durant highlights the contrast between this Finals and last year’s with his incredible performance and that’s why he’ll walk away with the award
Douglas: I hate that I'm saying this, but Durant. However, I am not impressed that he may get this award. I’d imagine any superstar could roll into the Warriors and grab a championship and maybe an MVP. Who knows, maybe LeBron will leave Cleveland next season and go play for Golden State.
Fiala: Yeah, it’s going to KD. Putting all the crap about him joining a 73-win team aside, he’s been absolutely dominant on both ends of the floor. Blocks, rebounds, steals, dagger threes. He’s earned it.
Should the Cavaliers trade Kevin Love if they get swept?
Lewis: Yeah, to Denver for the Wills and the 13th pick. No, I’m kidding (sort of) but there’s no need for Cleveland to blow things up if they lose. They may start to regret the contract they gave to J.R. Smith though.
Mikash: They’re going to have to do something. LeBron’s not getting any younger and a fully healthy Cleveland roster is getting unceremoniously blown out of the Finals. Don’t ask me what that trade is though
Douglas: That’s a tough one. I'd say no. Love is such an asset: He plays so tough and really competes. I also don't believe that trading Love will get the Cavs any closer to beating the Warriors.
Fiala: No way. Cleveland still represents the best chance any team has to beat Golden State, and Love is playing some of his best basketball right now. He is not a liability for them. The Cavs do need to get rid of Iman Shumpert, Deron Williams and maybe Tristan Thompson and make better bench upgrades instead.
Is this the beginning of a Warriors dynasty?
Lewis: No. There’s still so much that could happen, and I don’t see the Warriors having the staying power of an organization like the Spurs. That Duncan-Ginobili-Parker core was together for so long, I don’t think the Warriors can replicate that kind of long-term success. Now a Jokic-Murray-Harris core, now we’re talking (only sort of kidding).
Mikash: I wouldn’t call it the beginning, to me the beginning of this dynasty was back in 2013 when the Warriors man handled the Nuggets in the 1st round. I would call this the affirmation of a dynasty. This will be 2 rings in 3 years, with a 73 win season in the middle and a 16-0 run through the playoffs at the end, feels dynasty-esque. Perhaps they’d have to get one more title, we don’t look at the 90s Houston Rockets as a dynasty after all.
Douglas: I don't believe so. For the next couple of years Golden State will probably dominate, but this year the organization simply recruited another superstar to add to their already incredible roster as opposed to building from scratch. As Daniel said, a dynasty is a team like the San Antonio Spurs who have a system that produces success year after year.
Fiala: They’re already in the middle of a dynasty. They’ll have two championships in three Finals appearances and are very likely to win more in the next few years. When it’s all said and done a few years from now, Golden State will be considered a dynasty and these few seasons have absolutely been a part of it.