The NBA Finals matchup that fans have essentially been waiting all year for is finally here.
The Trilogy that is the 2017 NBA Finals, a third-straight showdown between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, marks the first time in NBA history that the same teams will meet in the Finals three consecutive years. The storyline that has peaked fans’ interest all season is now coming to fruition.
Golden State has been fueled all season by the hope of avenging last year’s historic Finals defeat, in which the Cavaliers snatched a repeat from the Warriors’ grasp and completed the first comeback from 3-1 down in Finals history. That’s been on full display throughout a perfect 12-0 run to the Western Conference Championship, easily dispatching the Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs.
Warriors offseason acquisition Kevin Durant has been a man on a mission despite a delayed playoff debut due to injury. Durant is shooting a scorching 56 percent from the field en route to a 25.2-point average in this postseason, second to Stephen Curry‘s 28.6-point playoff average.
As for the defending champions, the Cavaliers have been no slouches in their own journey to the Eastern Conference Championship. Cleveland has only lost once in the postseason after cruising past the Boston Celtics in five games, preceded by consecutive sweeps of the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors.
Both teams have essentially been pitting themselves against one another, from personnel changes to scheme adjustments, in the expectation that they would meet again in this so-called Trilogy. This postseason has proven that the only true competition the Cavs and Warriors have in their championship bids are one another, and it sets up for another memorable battle.
A depleted Cavs squad in LeBron James‘ first season back in Cleveland couldn’t get it done in 2014-15 when the Dubs won their fourth championship, but they delivered the very next season by dethroning the 73-9 Warriors squad in historic fashion. The bad blood harbored over the last two years is sure to come to a boil as two seemingly all-time great teams get ready to duke it out again for the ultimate prize.