Analysts: Health, defense to affect Cavs in NBA Finals


Posted at Jun 01 2016 11:03 PM | Updated as of Jun 01 2016 11:30 PM

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James in Game 6 of the Eastern conference finals of the NBA Playoffs against the Toronto Raptors. Nick Turchiaro, USA TODAY Sports

MANILA -- This year’s NBA Finals between defending champions Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers appears to be more evenly matched compared to last year.

On a recent episode of ABS-CBN's Sports and Action "The Score," basketball analyst Martin Lloyd Antonio noted that Cleveland will be fielding an intact core of players unlike last year, when star LeBron James had to virtually fend off the Warriors all by himself.

“They are very, very healthy. Intact 'yung core nila. They added Kyrie [Irving] and Kevin Love,” Antonio said.

Last season, Love missed nearly all of the playoffs, while Irving broke a kneecap in the championship series opener. This left James and the rest of the Cavaliers to fight it out against the Warriors, who took the title in six games.

“Hopefully they (Cavaliers) could play well enough in the series and we know what LeBron James did during the six-game series last year. He almost willed the Cavaliers to the championship on his own,” Antonio said.

(READ: Warriors-Cavaliers are the 14th NBA Finals rematch)

But another basketball analyst Enzo Flojo noted that Cleveland hasn’t faced any team of Golden State’s caliber in the post-season. This, he said, could play a factor in the best of seven series.

“They faced adversity against Toronto [Raptors], losing Games 3 and 4. But iba ang level ng Toronto sa Golden State,” Flojo pointed out.

In contrast, Western Conference finalist Oklahoma City Thunder played competitive defense against Stephen Curry and the rest of Golden State. But this did not stop the Warriors from scoring.

“They haven't faced a team like Golden State in a long time and I think it's gonna be a factor against Cleveland in the series,” said Flojo.

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