The NBA Finals Have Reached Game 7 — Let’s Predict Some Stuff
In what has been an exhilarating, tension-packed series (somehow despite all the blowouts), the Cavaliers and Warriors are all square at three games apiece. Which means basketball fans are getting that most precious of gifts: an NBA Finals Game 7.
It’s a face-off between the world’s two best players, leading teams that increasingly seem to despise each other. The first six games have seen low blows, suspensions, unnecessary rejections of practice layups, thrown mouthpieces (see below), accusations of official malfeasance and, best of all, spectacular performances.
Stephen Curry fouls out, throws mouthguard at fan, says he's sorry pic.twitter.com/EMpWVvnxH8
— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) June 17, 2016
What the series could really use, though, is a close game. Games 1 through 6 have been decided by an average of 19 points, with Game 4’s 11-point Warriors victory the closest. Currently oddsmakers have the Warriors favored by 5, and a game within that margin would be ideal. Whoever you’re rooting for, a tight, wire-to-wire game with lead changes and nail-biting final moments is the best possible outcome (other than your team winning, of course).
One lesson this series has taught us is that it is impossible to predict what will happen next. After the Warriors jumped out to a 2-0 series lead on a pair of utterly dominant victories, the Cavs looked all but dead. And then Cleveland ripped off a 30-point victory of its own in Game 3, only to fall in Game 4 all the way back into that impossible-to-escape hole they were in two games earlier. Then the Cavs flew to Oakland, where the Warriors were 39–2 this year — and won, convincingly, setting up a return to Cleveland where they won Game 6 (again, convincingly).
So what happens now? Who knows? But that doesn’t mean we can’t take some guesses.
Will the real Steph Curry reappear? We guess yes, with the reigning two-time MVP going off for 35, leading the Warriors on a few big runs and giving them a chance to win.
Can LeBron James remain unstoppable? The King looks like he is in the zone, like he knows he’s the best damn player in the world, and when he’s in that mindset, he is all-powerful. He may not top the 41-point performances from the last two games, but you can expect him to stay at the apex of his game, keeping the score tight all the way through.
Will we see Good Draymond or Bad Draymond? Draymond Green has either been invincible or invisible (sometimes almost literally, as he watched Game 5 from a different building due to his suspension). This is Game 7, though, and at home Green should feel comfortable. We think he’ll have a huge game.
Will Kevin Love get on the plane to Oakland or stay home? Who cares? The Cavs have played better without him, so don’t expect to see much of the onetime star who’s fallen on hard times.
Will Steph be suspended for throwing his mouthpiece at a fan? No. (Even though that has happened before, but come on, it’s Game 7. No way.)
Who will win Finals MVP? LeBron, whether the Cavs win or lose. He’s been that good.
Who wins Game 7?
Our heads say Golden State in a close one, but this series has been so completely unpredictable, we gotta go with our gut here: Cavaliers 112, Warriors 110.
And yes, it ends with LeBron hitting a game-winning three at the buzzer.