Finally, the NBA Finals

And that juggernaut will require the Cleveland Cavaliers to play airtight defense in these NBA Finals.

The Cavaliers struggled to a 7-10 record in March, closing the season 12-15 with four consecutive losses. Celtics have won 17 championships, Lakers 16.

For the record, I picked Cleveland at the start of the season primarily for two reasons.

The Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in an epic seven-game series to capture their second National Basketball Association title in three years, and redeem themselves after last year's incredible upset.

"Our relationship is very good", James said of Durant.

"I just think the Warriors are just head and shoulders talent-wise above anybody else in the NBA", Van Gundy added. That let the Warriors get out and run, where they are comfortable. They score and defend and just have something about them.

While much of the focus leading up to Cavs vs. Warriors III has been on how the addition of Kevin Durant to Golden State's star core led by Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson will make life even more hard for LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers, there are several other newcomers to the rivalry who could play a key role in determining which team wins a second title in this trilogy.

"The same conversation coming into every season". Golden State has gone 12-0 in the postseason, an National Basketball Association record, while Cleveland is 12-1.

Join me Thursday as we break down numbers five through one and see if either team (Cleveland and Golden State) can turn in one of these performances as the NBA Finals kick off tomorrow.

Except those Warriors aren't these Warriors.

The Cavaliers flew into San Francisco on Tuesday, taking a team photo once they arrived that Cleveland forward Kevin Love posted on Instagram.

Durant is the difference.

So who wins: Cleveland, led by James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love or Golden State, led by Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green? Now with Durant in that mix in what essentially was Barnes' spot, the Warriors have found different dimensions both offensively and defensively. There's no way Durant will get held to those sort of numbers. He replaced the outgoing Luke Walton and was hired with the knowledge that he might need to fill in for Steve Kerr, who continues to face health problems after complications from back surgery.

According to NBA.com, Golden State's defensive rating of 99.1 points per 100 possessions is the lowest the league has ever seen through the first three rounds of the playoffs.

Game 1 is tonight at The Oracle.

The Warriors are 12-0 in the playoffs and have won 27 of their last 28 overall. They're rested. They're healthy.

Golden State was up 60-52 at the half, and that was despite shooting 19-of-34 at the rim in the first half and being 3-of-13 from three.

  • Julie Sanders