GSW vs CLE: A Sweep or a Game 7?


What has been hyped up as one of the greatest Finals rematch in NBA history, has been a disappointment to most watchers thus far, unless of course you’re a Golden State fan, then you’re loving every second of this series so far! With all the talk about the Cavaliers finally being back at full strength and being able to give the Warriors a challenge this year, it hasn’t panned out the way Cleveland might have hoped. So far through the first two games, the Warriors have a +24 point differential over the Cavaliers, outscoring them by 15 in Game 1 and 33 in Game 2. So as the Warriors head to Cleveland with a 2-0 lead, people will start to talk about a possible sweep in four games. Cleveland will try to defend their home court over the next two games and force a decisive Game 7. So what are the odds for either outcome to happen?

In the sixty-six possible Finals match-ups since 1950, the series has only ended with a 4-0 result eight times. That .12% chance bodes well for Cleveland, but their team leader LeBron James has been on the end of one sweep in his career. The most recent sweep was in 2007, when the San Antonio Spurs, led by Tim Duncan and head coach Gregg Popovich, rolled over the Cleveland Cavaliers in four games. This was LeBron’s first NBA Finals appearance, as he managed to carry a very mediocre team all the way through the regular season and playoffs. The first sweep in NBA history came way back in 1959, when the Boston Celtics demolished the Minneapolis Lakers. During this time, Bill Russell and the Celtics were in the beginning of what is now known today as the greatest dynasty ever, as they would win 11 championships in 13 years. The Cavaliers will have to step up their play as a team together if they want to avoid losing back to back Finals versus the reigning champions. The Golden State Warriors will look to make it nine sweeps in sixty-seven possible match-ups this Friday, completing what will without a doubt go down as the greatest single season by an NBA team in history.

The odds of a Game 7 occurring are a lot more common than that of a sweep. In the sixty-six possible chances, a winner take all Game 7 has occurred eighteen times. That 27% chance doesn’t seem great for the Warriors, but they have been the team down 3-1 in a series this year and have shown they have the strength to fight back and win that big game when the time comes. With a 2-0 lead in the series, Golden State is in the driver seat and won’t look to give the Cavaliers any free shots to force this series all the way to seven. In NBA Finals history, 31 teams have started the series 2-0 and 28 of them went on to win the championship. The most recent team to come back from a 2-0 hole was the Miami Heat in 2006, led by Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal. During this series, the bench has played a huge roll for the Warriors. In Game 1, Golden State’s bench outscored the Cavaliers bench 45-10. The main contributor was Shaun Livingston, who had 20 points on 8-10 shooting, the same amount of points as Curry and Thompson together. Game 2 was no different, as their bench would best Cleveland’s again, this time 40-30.

A 4-1 series result has happened 16 times and a 4-2 finish has occurred 24 times since 1950. With all the possible outcomes for this historic rematch, we as fans can only hope it goes to Game 7. There is nothing people like more than a do-or-die competition between the two best teams in the league, where both sides will leave it all on the court to decide the champion. If you are rooting for the Warriors, you would love to see the confetti falling this Friday night after Game 4 is over and watch your team crowned as back to back champions. Golden State knows, “It don’t mean a thing, without the ring”. If you’re a Cleveland fan, you are putting all the hope and trust into LeBron James and the rest of the team. The City of Cleveland has waited for not only their first NBA championship in franchise history, but their city’s first sports championship in over 52 years. With the rumors of James possibly leaving Cleveland again if they can’t get it done this year, the rest of the roster will have to rise to the occasion and win if they hope to keep their franchise star in a Cavalier jersey.

About Emanuel Godina

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