Though Bradley Beal said this soon after the Wizards lost to the Hawks in the second round of the playoffs,
Bradley Beal can’t bring himself to root for any of the four remaining teams. http://t.co/zRN97WaKEA pic.twitter.com/wXwUM53rrU— SB Nation NBA (@SBNationNBA) May 19, 2015
he won't get his wish. A team will win the NBA Finals.
The Golden State Warriors will represent the Western Conference as they face off against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who won the Eastern Conference. Game 1 is tonight at 9 p.m. and here's the entire schedule:
|1||Thursday, June 6||Oracle Arena||9 p.m.||ABC|
|2||Sunday, June 7||Oracle Arena||8 p.m.||ABC|
|3||Tuesday, June 9||Quicken Loans Arena||9 p.m.||ABC|
|4||Thursday, June 11||Quicken Loans Arena||9 p.m.||ABC|
|5*||Sunday, June 14||Oracle Arena||8 p.m.||ABC|
|6*||Tuesday, June 16||Quicken Loans Arena||9 p.m.||ABC|
|7*||Friday, June 19||Oracle Arena||9 p.m.||ABC|
The main storylines include the following:
- Warriors point guard Stephen Curry, the current NBA MVP, will face off against Cavaliers forward LeBron James, who is a four-time NBA MVP in a battle between two of the league's top stars.
- The NBA is a guard-driven league, and we'll have a chance to see Golden State's backcourt of Curry and Klay Thompson showcase their perimeter shooting and playmaking talents in full display against a Cavs team where James is healthy, but Kyrie Irving is recovering from injury, and Kevin Love is out for the season after his shoulder was dislocated in the first round. Speaking about injuries, Thompson is recovering from a concussion he suffered in the Western Conference Finals.
- Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and Cavaliers head coach David Blatt are first-year NBA head coaches. This is the first NBA Finals where this has happened.
- This is also the first year where both the Eastern and Western Conference champions haven't won an NBA championship in recent memory, or at all. That makes this series interesting to watch, even if they are both star-studded squads. The Warriors' only NBA title came in 1975 when they swept ... the Wizards, who were then known as the Bullets. The Cavaliers never won an NBA title, but they did make the Finals in 2007 when they faced off against the San Antonio Spurs.
- James has now been the star for five consecutive Eastern Conference Championship teams from the 2010-11 season. He is going for his third championship ring.
- If the Cavaliers win the NBA championship, it will be the first "Big Four" sports title for the city since 1964 when the Browns won the NFL championship in the pre-Super Bowl era.
Obviously, we all wish that the Wizards were the Eastern Conference Champions. But many of us also follow other teams. Who are you rooting for to win the 2015 NBA Finals and why?
There are at least some parallels that the Wizards share with the Warriors. I had a chance to talk with Golden State of Mind's Nate Parham about that and some other issues back in February before the Wizards played them.
As for the Cavaliers, I get that they are one of the Wizards' rival teams for many reasons, but you could say that Washington shares some parallels with them as well over the past several seasons. For example, both teams drafted a point guard to kickstart their rebuilds, as the Wizards drafted John Wall and the Cavaliers drafted Kyrie Irving the very next year. The Cavs also got James to play for them (once again) last season, and he's a native of Northeastern Ohio. The Wizards, or at least some of their fans, want a different hometown kid to play for their team.
My pick is that the Warriors win the Finals in five games because they're much deeper than the Cavaliers. But don't take my word as the Gospel. Who's your pick to win the NBA Finals? Poll's below and comment away!
To catch up on Warriors coverage from the fan perspective, check out SB Nation's Golden State of Mind. And to check out Cavaliers coverage, check out SB Nation's Fear the Sword. And for national coverage, check out SB Nation NBA's Finals Guide.