The Cavaliers and the Warriors are meeting in the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive year, and it only took their opponents shooting a combined 14-for-83 from the three-point line in their respective Game 7 victories to get here.

It appears the NBA has been taking cues from Disney and rebooting their most popular matchup. However, no one really wanted the fourth iteration of this series, much like how no one really wanted Solo either. Will people still watch? You better goddamn believe it, pal.

But I’ll stop complaining, because it’s here whether I like it or not (and I don’t). Maybe I’ll just blame the Rockets and Celtics instead.

Without further ado, here’s a preview of a series we’ve already seen — not once, not twice, but thrice:

Most Regrettable Decision

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This morning, former Browns left tackle Joe Thomas tweeted something he probably wishes he hadn’t.

You might as well just bet your house that the United States is going to win the World Cup this year, or that the Browns will make the playoffs (I’m not sure which is less likely).

I admire the confidence, and of course this post was in response to Browns corner Damarious Randall tweeting the same thing with the opposite team, but this is really going to backfire for Thomas, in my opinion.

Either Joe Thomas is going bankrupt or he’s going to order all of those jerseys from China and sign them himself.

Honorable Mention: Trading Kyrie Irving

Matchup to Watch

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There’s obviously plenty of decent matchups to keep an eye on in this series (at least five of them at any given time), but one that will have a serious impact on the outcome of the series is George Hill vs. Steph Curry. George Hill, who joined the Cavs mid-season after a trade with the Kings, can be a pretty solid defender on the perimeter, and it just so happens that the Warriors do a lot of their work from the perimeter.

You can just about count on close to 30 points every night from Kevin Durant, and you can expect a couple of ridiculous scoring outbursts from Klay Thompson as well, but Curry has been a little hit-and-miss in the playoffs this year. Maybe Hill can slow him down long enough to keep a couple games within reach.

On the flip side, if Hill can contribute any sort of offense (he was just 4-for-21 from beyond the arc in the ECF), then that would give Cleveland an extra dimension that they’ll need just to keep pace with the Warriors.

Honorable Mention: Draymond Green vs. LeBron James’ Testicles

Cavs X-Factor

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The Cavs are always a different team when J.R. Smith is on versus when he’s bricking threes. In these playoffs, Smith has shot 36% from three as opposed to last year when he shot a clean 50% from three when the Cavs swept their way through the rest of the Eastern Conference.

It might not be easy, however, because Klay Thompson actually tends to play defense. If he can knock down a few open looks, the Cavs might be a force to reckon with. If not, they’re probably toast (they’re probably toast either way).

Honorable Mention: Tristan Thompson’s Relationship Status

Warriors X-Factor

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The X-factor is that they’re the Warriors and they have four fucking superstars in their starting lineup and an elite bench. But if we’re ignoring that, the health of Andre Iguodala seems like it’s fairly noteworthy.

Iguodala, who will miss Game 1, took home MVP honors back in 2015 for his lock-down defense, but he missed most of the WCF against the Rockets, which made a huge difference out on the wing and against three-point shooters like Eric Gordon (Steve Kerr claimed the Warriors would have beaten the Rockets in 5 with Iguodala).

If the Warriors’ elite defender is back in time for Game 2 or even Game 3, that could potentially make the difference as the series transitions from Oakland to Cleveland.

Honorable Mention: Kevin Durant’s Inability to Feel Shame

Final Verdict

It’s not exciting, and it’s certainly not what I want, but I’m taking the Warriors in five, just like last year.

The Cavs have been rendered worse than last year from the Irving trade and the health of Kevin Love, while the Warriors are pretty much exactly the same.

Let’s just hope that, regardless of how this series goes, we’ll get at least one new team in the Finals next year. Please. This NBA oligarchy has gotten old.

 

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