It’s becoming more predictable than Vince McMahon deciding that Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns will fight at WrestleMania. For the fourth year in a row, the Golden State Warriors will meet the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. That is thanks to a pair of Game 7 wins from the respective teams. The Cavs, of course, took out the Boston Celtics on Sunday night. The Warriors, though, had to work hard in Game 7 against the Houston Rockets, the Western Conference’s #1 seed on Monday night.
The Warriors did, though, after falling behind early on. Using all of their experience and guile, the Warriors clawed back from the deficit as Houston began to wilt without influential point guard Chris Paul in the lineup. Houston led by five at the end of the first quarter and by 11 at the end of the first half, but it just never felt like being their kind of game at all. Golden State always had that extra something to them, and it showed in when the third quarter began.
The Warriors had been down by as many as 15, after losing by 17 at one point in their win in Game 6. It simply eroded in the blink of an eye, though, as the Warriors’ great shooting- led by Steph Curry- combined with horrific shooting from the Rockets to produce a stunning, but not all that shocking turnaround. The Rockets had missed 27 consecutive three pointers at one point, showing just how tough they were finding it to get good looks at the rim or from the floor.
That’s the one piece of the Warriors puzzle that many overlook. Sure, they have scored a ton of points and given up some, too. But make no mistake about it, this is a team that can defend very capably when they need it. They needed it here, and though the Rockets certainly helped them with abhorrent shooting, they forced a good chunk of it.
This will be the fourth straight NBA Finals for the Warriors, and they will be looking to win back-to-back NBA titles as well as their third in four years. They will be overwhelming favorites to not only win the series but to also do so in four- or maybe, just maybe- five games. But on the other side will be LeBron James, who has beaten them before. One thing, though: that was without Kevin Durant. So this will represent quite possibly his biggest challenge to date.