CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Cavaliers have transformed into a totally different team since trading for Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith and Timofey Mozgov midway through the season. Once each of these players was inserted into the rotation, the Cavaliers ended the regular season with a record of thirty wins and nine losses. They’re also 12-2 up to this point in the playoffs, heading into the 2015 NBA Finals.
The Cleveland Cavaliers went up against the Golden State Warriors on two occasions during the regular season. The first game was January 9th, in which the Cavaliers were defeated by 18 points. Yes, this was a blowout win for the Warriors, but the Cavaliers did not have all their pieces from the trade on the floor. This matchup against the Warriors was Timofey Mozgov’s first game as a Cavalier, J.R. Smith’s second games as a Cavalier and Iman Shumpert didn’t even play because he was still rehabbing a shoulder injury.
By the time the Cavaliers met up with the Warriors for their second showdown at Quicken Loans Arena, the Cavaliers had a healthy lineup and their chemistry on the court was clicking. The Cavaliers defeated the Warriors that night by 11 points (110-99). LeBron James had a huge game that night, scoring 42 points, snagging 11 rebounds and dishing out 5 assists!
2015 NBA Finals Projected Matchups
|Kyrie Irving||Stephen Curry|
|Iman Shumpert||Klay Thompson|
|LeBron James||Harrison Barnes|
|Tristan Thompson||Draymond Green|
|Timofey Mozgov||Andrew Bogut|
The matchup between Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry should be nothing short of amazing! This will be a showdown between two of the best point guards in the NBA. Although Irving hasn’t been 100% throughout this playoff run, he’s been able to get things going once he finds his rhythm. Curry is this year’s MVP and there’s no doubt that he deserved it. Curry might be inclined to win this position battle because of Irving not being 100%.
Iman Shumpert is known around the NBA for being one of the best on-ball defenders. The matchup between Iman Shumpert and Klay Thompson will be interesting. Thompson is known as a sharp shooter with size, which helps him shoot over a lot of defenders. Shumpert has great hands on defense and he will make Thompson work for every bucket he gets. Hopefully Shumpert will be active on the offensive side of the ball as well.
LeBron James aka “The best player on the planet” will dominate his matchup with Harrison Barnes. The Warriors will most likely rotate defenders on James. He will most likely be checked by Barnes, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala. LeBron will use his high basketball IQ to take advantage of the different defenders by playing in the post on smaller defenders and driving to the basket against slower defenders.
Tristan Thompson and Draymond Green have a few things in common. Both players are undersized for the position they play, but, both players play bigger than they’re physical stature. Also both of these players compete at a high level and do anything they need to do to help their team win. Green is a great defender, but can he handle Thompson on the glass? Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah, Paul Millsap and Al Horford all had trouble containing Thompson on the glass. This should be a matchup that Thompson can take advantage of and create second chance points for the Cavaliers.
Timofey Mozgov has given the Cavaliers exactly what they needed on defense, a seven foot presence in the middle. Timofey Mozgov and Adrew Bogut are pretty much the same type of player, but Mozgov is a little quicker in transition. They’re numbers are pretty similar across the board so this matchup could turn out to be a wash.
Stephen Curry is this year’s MVP and he can go on runs where he could put up some crazy numbers, but, LeBron James has so much experience, not only playoff and finals experience, he has been in situations where he had to put the team on his back and win when all the odds were against him.
Some people think you can’t win playing hero ball, but Cleveland fans have seen James take over a game in crucial moments time after time. Now it’s time to just sit back and witness greatness!