Full disclosure: I was born and raised in Cleveland – and I’ve spent the bulk of my adult life living in Los Angeles. So, you’d be justified in thinking that I’m less than objective. But you’d be wrong.
I’m not betting on The Cavs and Clips just because they’re my favorite Eastern and Western Conference teams. I’m banking on the basketball brilliance of LeBron James and Blake Griffin, Kyrie Irving and Chris Paul, Kevin Love and DeAndre Jordan.
The Cavaliers and Clippers both began the season with high expectations – and both spent much of the first half of the season dashing those lofty hopes.
Fans and detractors alike expressed concerns about the Cavalier’s first-year head coach. It didn’t help that his name was Blatt – and his team played flat. But just as speculation rose that Blatt’s all-star players were gunning for him behind his back – LeBron and Kyrie and company ran off eight straight wins. (And counting as of this writing.)
The Clippers have also gelled in recent weeks – with Lob City finally airborne and the league’s best sixth man, Jamal Crawford, raining shots from every corner of the court. With Doc Rivers, their sage head coach and general manager, making just the right personnel moves, the Clipper’s improving chemistry has been evident in their recent six-game winning streak. (And counting as of this writing.)
Both teams have the talent to get to the finals.
Both teams have the postseason experience.
Both teams have superstars at three positions, a brace of perimeter sharpshooters, dominant inside power and rim protection, speed and athleticism.
And both teams are improving. Just this week, Cavs guard Kyrie Irving just dropped 55 points on the 32-14 Portland Trailblazers – winning without LeBron. And Clippers super sub Jamal Crawford filled it up for 21 points in the 4th quarter to beat the Denver Nuggets.
And they’re just getting started.
Sorry Warriors, Hawks, Blazers and Wizard fans.
It’ll be The Cavaliers versus The Clippers in the NBA Finals this year.