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Cavaliers vs. Warriors: Previewing Game 1 of the NBA Finals

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The wait is finally over

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Finals have finally arrived and the Cleveland Cavaliers are in Oakland to open up their series against the Golden State Warriors. All the buildup is finally coming to an end and the games are about to begin.

Who? Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors.

When? 9:00 pm ET

Where? Oracle Arena, Oakland, California

Where on my eyeballs? ABC

Enemy blog? Golden State Of Mind

Music:

A lot has been made over how great the Warriors are and how inferior the Cavs are in comparison. Of course LeBron James serves as an equalizer in the eyes of some analysts, but the general consensus is that the Cavs have their work cut out for them. One of the big keys to pulling off the series will be stealing home court from the Dubs, and there may not be a better opportunity than the series opener.

There is bound to be rust for both teams after the layoff. The Cavs have worked hard since the injuries to Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving to make the games ugly and keep teams from getting into a rhythm. With the rust that both teams will be experiencing, the Cavs will likely be able to keep this game from turning into a shootout and giving them a chance to come away with a win at the end.

Keys to the game:

  • Limit turnovers. The Warriors are a high turnover team. With less offensive firepower at their disposal, the Cavs need to make sure that they buy themselves as many extra possessions as possible. They will likely possess an edge on the boards throughout the series, but the turnover battle is still up in the air.
  • Keep the Warriors out of transition. It's easier said than done considering the fact that they have multiple players that can initiate the fast break and are capable of locating shooters that are running to the three point line or able to finish at the rim. Like all great offensive teams, if you want a chance to beat them you need to limit the number of easy baskets they get.
  • LeBron James needs to be the best player on the court. Steph Curry deserved the MVP award this season, but James is still widely regarded as the best player in the NBA. He's regarded as such because he is able to elevate his game to heights that are unreachable by almost every other player in the league. When he is on his game, he makes everything easier for all of his teammate and is nearly unstoppable in his pursuit to get to the rim. If he can out perform Curry it'll force the Warriors to get away from their game plan and start doubling LeBron; once they do that, everything else opens up.
  • Get secondary scoring. Whether it be Kyrie Irving or J.R. Smith, one of the two players will need to go off and provide a boatload of scoring in order to supplement what James provides and put them in a position to steal the game.

Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction:

I think the Cavs pull it off and put the pressure on Golden State. I think that they are able to come out strong, nurse the advantage they gained and close it out when it matters. Cavs win 108-104.