Cavaliers vs. Warriors: How they match up in the NBA Finals

Cavaliers vs. Warriors: How they match up in the NBA Finals
Cavaliers guardJ.R. Smith looks to drive the baseline against Warriors guard Klay Thompson during a game Jan. 9 in Oakland. (Ben Margot / Associated Press)

Cavaliers vs. Warriors: How they match up

Hey, someone new will win a title!


After three decades of, in no particular order, Spurs, Lakers, Celtics, Heat, Mavericks, Pistons, Bulls, and Rockets, a different NBA team will be rewarded sometime in the next two weeks.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have never won an NBA championship in 45 years of existence and Golden State hasn't won since 1975.

Current most valuable player Stephen Curry will play against four-time MVP LeBron James, and the Warriors will try to continue their season-from-nowhere after finishing sixth in last year's Western Conference standings.

The regular-season matchup won't provide much insight — the teams split two games almost evenly.

Golden State, masterful at home with a 46-3 record, won a January game against Cleveland, 112-94, thanks to 24 points from Klay Thompson and 23 from Curry. A fairly important footnote: James sat out because of knee and back injuries.

Cleveland won at home in February, 110-99, as James scored 42 points and Curry had only 18 on five-for-17 shooting.

Here's a closer look at the Cavaliers-Warriors matchup:


Kyrie Irving is great for the Cavaliers, a rising star stopped recently only by knee tendinitis. J.R. Smith can be great as well, but he's too sporadic to count on consistently. The Warriors have gotten this far thanks almost entirely to their backcourt: Thompson and Curry have averaged almost 50 combined points in the playoffs while making about eight three-pointers a game.

EDGE: Warriors.


Versatile Warriors forward Draymond Green can do plenty of little things on both sides of the court. He'll make a lot of money this summer as a restricted free agent. James already has a lot of money. And two NBA championships. He has carried the Cavaliers despite their ever-changing lineup and will continue to do so. Not to be ignored: Cleveland's Tristan Thompson has become a solid rebounder and shot-blocker and Golden State's Harrison Barnes helped eliminate Houston with 24 points in Game 5 of the West finals.

EDGE: Cavaliers



Yawn. An afterthought on both teams. Andrew Bogut, a former No. 1 overall pick, is a rebounder and shot-blocker who simply doesn't score. Timofey Mozgov was a nice in-season pickup for Cleveland and is a younger, slightly less offensively challenged version of Bogut.


EDGE: Cavaliers.


Andre Iguodala is a reserve for the Warriors, effective in so many facets it's hard to believe he comes off the bench. But he does. Smith can score in bunches for Cleveland, but the only other reserve of note is the team irritant, Matthew Dellavedova.

EDGE: Warriors


Two NBA rookies! Cleveland's David Blatt has mismanaged games, almost calling a timeout he didn't have earlier in the playoffs, and quelled rumors about locker-room instability during an uneven 2-10 stretch of the regular season. Golden State's Steve Kerr has had to quell only the desire to analyze games on TV after doing it well for so many years.

EDGE: Warriors.


The Warriors' fan base is tough to top, and the franchise seems like a team of destiny after so many fruitless seasons. Cleveland has appeared in the Finals only once, in 2007, and deserves something for almost half a century of mediocrity, but the Warriors seem just a little more special.

EDGE: Warriors.

PICK: Warriors in six games.

Twitter: Mike_Bresnahan