When the dust settles in Oakland tonight, and the Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder wrap their series, the Cleveland Cavaliers will have their NBA Finals opponent. And in the process, they'll likely learn a thing or two (or least have more film to watch) in the process. As the series has played out, the Western Conference Finals has been highly competitive and either team winning tonight would be a reasonable, realistic outcome. And no matter what happens, it should be a thrilling night at the Oracle.
Here are three things to watch for Cavs in Game 7 of Thunder vs. Warriors.
1. Will Draymond Green be Draymond Green?
The Draymond Green we've seen in the playoffs hasn't been the one that was deserving of making first team All-NBA during the regular season. There have been moments and games were he's been himself, but he hasn't been the best version of himself game in and game out.
Defensively, he's been close to himself. But on offense, he's shooting 35.8 percent from three after shooting 38.8 percent from deep during the regular season. He's also not creating in the same way he was during the regular season when the Warriors won 73 games. When he does those two things, Golden State is infinitely more dangerous and defenses become scattered. If Golden State wins, and Green is at his best, he creates a number of matchup issues for the Cavs that might not be solvable.
Also of note: if Green picks up another flagrant foul and the Warriors win, he'll be suspended for Game 1 of the Finals. That would be huge for the Cavs, who need to win on the road if they face Golden State in the Finals.
2. Will Andre Roberson continue to perform well on offense?
Andre Roberson has been unexpectedly effective on offense during the Thunder's postseason run. While not always drawing the opposition's defenses, he's making teams think about him by making open threes and driving in for layups. At times, he's also functioned as an offensive center and been more effective on offense than he's ever been.
For the Cavs, Roberson represents a hiding spot. In the starting lineup, it represents a place to hide Kyrie Irving. In other lineups, it represents a place to hide Kevin Love. If Oklahoma City advances, and Roberson continues to play well heading into the Finals, the Cavs might have to be look at that matchup different. Irving probably still hides on him at times, but it means he can't help inside as much. That matters.
3. What will the Thunder's offense look like?
Oklahoma City, at its best during its playoff run, has run a more complicated offense than they have in the past. They've had a lot of ball movement, received production from role players like Dion Waiters and Steven Adams and become incredibly hard to defend. In Game 6 especially, their offense went out the window and, when their stars didn't make shots late, they fell and gave Golden State a chance to come back from a 3-1 deficit at home.
It's no coincidence that when the Thunder stole a game in Oakland earlier in this series, it was because their role players played well and functioned at a higher level. They may need to do it again in order to win a second game.