10 players who will have key roles in the NBA Finals

10 players who will have key roles in the NBA Finals

The Warriors had tried to use Durant as a closer and failed, twice, squandering nail-biters in Games 4 and 5 and putting themselves on the brink of elimination in the Western Conference finals.

In Houston Monday night, the Warriors got their act together and came back from a double-digit deficit to beat the Rockets 101-92 in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals.

Finals action starts later this week when the Warriors host Game 1 on Thursday and Game 2 on Sunday.

Love had been averaging 13.9 points per game with 10 rebounds in the postseason this year.

Van Gundy, pride of Alhambra High School in Martinez, and Jackson, who preceded Steve Kerr as coach of the Warriors, are leaning toward a Warriors victory in four games - only because three games is mathematically impossible. The absence of All-Star point guard Chris Paul ultimately proved to be one of the pivotal factors in the Warriors returning to the NBA Finals. For their part, the Warriors won a four-year low 58 regular season games. First, Jason Lloyd of The Athletic and later Mark Medina of The Mercury News joins to break down the NBA Finals. With improved shooting and increased effort on the defensive end, they were able to turn the entire third into a typical Warriors run.

The Golden State Warriors seek to defend the National Basketball Association championship against a Cleveland Cavalier side that has been carried by LeBron James. Houston seeks layups and 3-point shots. They can win without him, but it certainly makes it tougher.

LeBron has never been as much of an underdog going into the Finals as he is now. This is the worst Cleveland team that James has played for during his second stint with the franchise, as they're porous defensively and lock themselves into a constant struggle to score when James or Kevin Love aren't doing it.

As the debate about Golden State being a potential dynasty rages on, general manager Bob Myers is not interested in talking about that possibility. But at the same time, Golden State hasn't played that well lately, and LeBron James suits up for the other team, making that +650 sound like some pretty good value. "I think no matter who came out of the West and who came out of the East, the Western Conference victor would have been the prohibitive favorite, for many different reasons", he said. "So I always have felt vulnerable, even though people may not believe that".

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