By Ben Stein ’18
The Cleveland Cavaliers will not win the finals. Now, I understand that they are not there yet, but they play the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals who, to say the least, do not appear to be an extreme challenge.
Nothing is guaranteed as we have learned in the NBA playoffs, but, the Cavs have swept their last two opponents whereas the Celtics almost lost in the Conference Semifinals to the Wizards. Bottom line, Cleveland will probably be in the finals as many have expected.
If they make it to the finals, they will most likely face the Golden State Warriors who are too much of a force to reckon with. Besides the basic fact that they have four all-stars on their team, three of which can score 30 points or more on any given night, there are some huge stats that jump out. If we just look at this season, they went 67-15 in the regular season, scoring roughly 117 ppg on average. That is nearly 30 points on average in a quarter. They have given up 103.8 ppg, and while that may seem like a lot, it must also be taken into consideration that many of those points are scored in garbage time. Often times they will be up by 20 or more points going into the fourth quarter and then other teams will score most of their points, while Golden State plays their bench players. Another eye popping statistic is their overall team shooting percentage, which is 49.2 percent, one of the best in the league.
If the other side of the story is analyzed, Cleveland has given up 107 ppg. In 2015-16, the year they won the finals, they only gave up 97.8 ppg, nearly 10 ppg less than this year. Imagine that difference. Most games in the NBA are within 10 points; if a team scores 107 points versus 98 then they will probably have a better chance to win the game. On average they have scored 114.5 ppg, similar to that of their counterpart out west, and they have shot the ball at a similar percentage of 49 percent. However, their point differential is very crucial.
When it comes down to the finals, expect Cleveland’s defense to be exposed for the 107 points they give up, to a team that is capable of scoring 140 in any given game.