Warriors aim to complete historic season in Cavaliers Finals rematch


At several stages in this post-season, defending champions the Golden State Warriors have looked down and out but, despite facing numerous adversities, they will again meet the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals for the Larry O'Brien Trophy.

The Warriors have been the darlings of the NBA for the past two seasons and did what most thought was impossible by breaking the record for regular-season wins set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.

Stephen Curry was the driving force behind the Warriors stunning 73-9 season, he led the league with 30.1 points per game and joined the 50-40-90 club by becoming the seventh player to make at least 50 per cent of his field goals, 40 per cent of his three-point attempts and 90 per cent of his free-throws in a season that saw him named MVP for the second straight year, earning every first-place vote.

But several times during the post-season he and the Warriors have appeared on the brink of disaster.

Curry suffered injuries to his foot and knee in the first round against the Houston Rockets, with the latter blow keeping him out until game four of the second-round series with the Portland Trail Blazers, returning in incredible fashion by scoring 17 points in overtime to secure victory.

However, Curry and the Warriors' run to a seemingly inevitable second successive title appeared all but over after they fell 3-1 down to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference finals.

Golden State had been eviscerated in games three and four on the road, with Curry looking well short of fitness. Yet improbably the Warriors became the 10th team to turn around a 3-1 play-off deficit, with Klay Thompson's 41-point effort away from home in game six - in which he made 11 three-pointers - proving key to that remarkable fightback.

The questions surrounding Curry's health will continue but the Warriors will be favourites to complete their historic season by beating the Cavaliers again, having swept the regular-season series 2-0.

But the difference between last year's Finals and this year's championship series is that the Cavaliers are healthy, and firing in a big way.

In 2015 the Cavaliers were undermanned - Kevin Love was injured in the first round of the play-offs and Kyrie Irving's troublesome left knee ensured he played only one game against Golden State - leaving LeBron James to fend for himself against arguably the best shooting team of all time.

That is not the case this time around, Irving and Love are both healthy are enjoying excellent play-off campaigns. Irving - along with James - is averaging over 24 points per game and Love is shooting 44.6 per cent from the three-point line and has posted 9.6 rebounds a game in a post-season that has seen the Cavaliers lose just twice.

The Cavaliers are also getting strong production out of the likes of J.R. Smith and Channing Frye, with the latter shooting 57.8 per cent from beyond the arc and Tyronn Lue - who stepped in after David Blatt was fired in January - has Cleveland four wins away from a first NBA title in franchise history.

Yet the problem is the Cavaliers are facing a team of history, a team that has demonstrated remarkable resiliency and one with excellent depth in the likes of fiery forward Draymond Green and last year's Finals MVP Andre Iguodala. And, after the Thunder were unable to close out a two-game advantage in the previous round, it will likely take all of the LeBron's might to complete his personal mission of bringing a title to Cleveland and deny Golden State a fairytale ending.