Z Files: Notes from 30,000 feet - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Z Files: Notes from 30,000 feet

(Source: Tony Dejak/AP Photo) (Source: Tony Dejak/AP Photo)
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

As I write this during our flight to San Francisco for Games 1 and 2 of the NBA Finals, I’m thinking back to last year, and of how LeBron James carried the Cavaliers into the Finals without Kevin Love and with a banged up Kyrie Irving.

Irving lasted only one game in the Finals before fracturing his kneecap, yet the Cavaliers still managed to win Game 2, thanks to LeBron’s offense and Matthew Dellavedova’s smothering defense on Steph Curry. Remember, both Games 1 and 2 went to overtime last year, with LeBron scoring a combined 83 points in them. He’d rack up a total of 123 points through the first three games of the Finals, as the Cavaliers took a 2-1 series lead. But they’d wear down, of course, and lose the series in 6. 

This year, LeBron has a lot more help. He has Irving and Love by his side, playing great basketball. In fact, the Cavs are better when LeBron isn’t going for 40 points. They’re at their best when the Big 3 are all throwing down 20-something, and getting help from J.R. Smith, Channing Frye and others. Frye has been a sharpshooter in these playoffs, doing the one thing they brought him here to do: bury 3's. So, the Cavaliers head back to Oakland in far better shape than in 2015.

What about the Warriors?

Well, Curry certainly looked like Curry the other night in Game 7 against the Thunder, as the Warriors completed their comeback from 3-1 down in the series. But it was just a week ago that he admitted he’s only 70 percent healthy. And Draymond Green? He’s playing with the threat of a suspension hanging over him.

One more flagrant foul and he’s out for a game. If that harnesses his high-energy and sometimes over-the-top style of play at all, it’s a big factor. 

This is the matchup everybody wanted to see. So many storylines. 

The Rematch. LeBron vs. Curry. Andy Varejao against his old team. But to me, the most obvious and interesting fact heading in is that these Cavaliers are simply far healthier, and superior, to the Cavs team that took the Warriors to six games a year ago.

Enjoy this run. It’s going to be historic. 

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