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Five ways the Golden State Warriors get back-to-back NBA titles

Daniel Mendez, Sports Reporter

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On Thursday, May 31, we get the fourth installment of NBA’s modern day rivalry, as the Cleveland Cavaliers face off against the Golden State Warriors, or better known as the defending champions.

Below are five ways that the Warriors go back to back and become a dominant dynasty, winning three of the last four NBA titles.

  1. The third quarter Warriors

 

The Warriors have been the best team coming out of halftime for the entire season and postseason. During the season, the Dubs outscored opponents by 18.5 net points per 100 possessions in the third quarter. In this year’s playoffs, Golden State has been even more dominant in the third quarter. Against the Spurs in the first round, they held a plus 31.5, without Steph Curry, a plus 22.6 against the New Orleans Pelicans and a plus 36 through four games against the Houston Rockets.

Meanwhile, the Cavs have had third quarter woes throughout the whole season, which nearly cost them in the first round against the Indiana Pacers and in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics. Cleveland, during the postseason, has a defensive rating of 104.6, an offensive rating of 100.9 and a net rating of -3.6 in the third period.

Behind a stingy defense that sets the tone after the half, the Warriors strong defense translates to their offense. Wither it’s Curry, Draymond Green or Kevin Durant grabbing the defensive rebounds and putting the Dubs in a fast-break position, where they find their shooters open, the Warriors have the ability to take a deficient and evaporate it in less than two minutes. What makes them so lethal is you don’t know who is going to get hot in the third. It could be Curry, Durant or Thompson that shoot lights out. Sometimes it’s a combination of all three and there’s no going back after that.

 

2. The Splash Brothers

 

The backcourt of Curry and Thompson is arguably the best in the league. They will be a tough matchup for the Cavs backcourt of J.R. Smith, George Hill, Jordan Clarkson and Jose Calderon, if he plays. Against Houston, both Curry and Thompson had their struggles through the first couple of games. But as the series got tighter, the Splash Bros made their presence felt, and that was the turning point. Thompson scored 21 of his game-high 35 points in game six, while Curry contributed 29 points. In game seven, Curry had 27 points with a near triple double (10 assists, 9 rebounds), while Thompson had 19 in the win.

What makes this year’s installment interesting is that Thompson does not have to exert that much energy on the defensive end. He no longer has to guard Kyrie Irving. Thompson could be the Warriors biggest x-factor on the defensive end. Last finals Thompson strictly stuck to Irving throughout the series, and this time around, the Dubs can switch and give James multiple defending options.

3. Kevin Durant

 

 

Against the Rockets, KD did whatever he wanted on the court, from dominating the court with his iso game to shooting efficiently. Durant shot 47.9 percent from the floor and hit 32.8 from behind the arc, while hitting 88.8 percent of his attempts at the free throw line during the postseason.

Besides his offensive repertoire, what KD could do defensively for the Warriors is the reason they could win a second-straight title. Durant will need to have a strong mindset defensively first as his main primary person he is going to defend is James, especially if Andre Iguodala can’t play this series with an injury. Durant will need to handle the biggest offensive weapon the Cavs have in order for the Warriors to go back to back. In other words, KD can’t let LeBron continue his dominating postseason run.

 

4. Strength in numbers

 

The Warriors bench could be the most suspect it has been in previous championship runs, but it’s not one to take lightly—it’s a mixture of veteran and young players. If Iguodala is injured and can’t play in the finals the bench will need to step up. 

Another part of the Warriors bench will be how much playing time Steve Kerr decides to give to rookie Jordan Bell. He proved to be the Warriors center of the future, providing energy, ball movement and flow for the offensive end. In addition, the one player that could win MVP of the both teams bench units is Nick “Swaggy P” Young. If he’s open in the corner off a pick ‘n roll, Young could give a huge boost to the Warriors.

 

5. Steve Kerr

 

The man behind the team heading to its fourth straight NBA Finals. Kerr has proved that he has the juice to coach in the NBA. Each year he has been a head coach, he’s been coaching till June. Kerr has taken many different approaches to keeping his team engaged this season, from letting them coach themselves earlier in the season, to calling them all out during a halftime of a game seven in the Western Conference Finals.

Kerr and the Warriors have a habit no matter the stakes to start the game slow and disengaged, almost as if they want to you to give them all you can in the first half. But usually after halftime it’s a complete different team. Kerr’s halftime adjustments and approach to the Warriors second half dominance is further proof that he is one of the best coaches in the league.

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