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After a long break which felt like forever after the Conference Finals series were wrapped up, the NBA Finals are finally here.

It's the matchup most fans were hoping for in the Cleveland Cavaliers facing off against the Golden State Warriors. Two MVPs in LeBron James and Stephen Curry will battle off — Curry chasing his first championship while LeBron aims for his third ring, and the first for Cleveland.

With Game 1 tonight, we decided it would be a perfect time to bring some of our writers along and cast our predictions for the series. We have myself, Andy McFadden, Zach Martin and Blake Hamilton.

So without a further ado, let's kick this 2015 NBA Finals roundtable off!


Biggest X-Factor for Both Teams?

Kyrie Irving LeBron James June 2015

Andy McFadden 

While forwards Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green seem to get a lot of the praise, Harrison Barnes has flown under the radar. I think Barnes will break out this series.

He hasn't shot the ball great in the playoffs (32 percent from 3), but with the Cavaliers guards guarding Curry and Klay, I think Barnes will get some open looks and get out in transition.

My x-Factor for the Cavs is Kyrie Irving. Knee tendinitis is no joke, but if the Cavaliers want a chance to win this series, Kyrie needs to play close to the level we saw in the regular season. Look out for Kyrie, because he'll be key and all eyes will be on him.

Blake Hamilton

For the Cavs, it has to be JR Smith. He will have the tall task of guarding Klay Thomson on one end and being the second or even third scoring option for the Cavs on the other end. The famously streaky Smith will have to put up even more points if Kyrie Irving remains less than 100% healthy.

If Klay Thompson is still feeling wobbly from the wrath of Trevor Ariza's flying knee to his dome, his lack of production could make him an x-factor. More than likely though, it'll be Draymond Green.

Draymond will at times be tasked with keeping Tristan Thompson off the offensive boards and helping on LeBron occasionally. Those are taller defensive tasks than the assignments he was drawing in the Houston series.

The Warriors will also need him to continue to be the offensive playmaker they have relied on at times this season.

Zach Martin

For the Cavs, it's the supporting cast. LeBron is LeBron, but which JR Smith shows up? Does he get good games from Dellevedova? The King can't win it on his own, as we learned from his initial stint with his hometown team.

For the Warriors, it is protecting home court. They're 46-3 at home this season, and they need to win their home games (especially Game 1) if they want to have a shot at the title.

Josh Dhani

For the Cavaliers, I definitely think it's the two former Knicks who joined the team this season. JR Smith and Iman Shumpert have been huge for Cleveland, and have found their niche with the Cavs. Both have been even bigger in the playoffs.

Shumpert and Smith both will take on the tasks of guarding the likes of Klay Thompson. It'll be hard to stop Steph Curry, so at least stopping one of the other Splash Brothers works out.

For Golden State, it would have to be Draymond Green. Many are seeing him as the guy to contain LeBron James. Not only will he have that tough task, but also battling with the likes of Tristan Thompson on the boards, too.

Who Will Have More Impact: LeBron or Curry?

LeBron James vs Steph Curry

Andy McFadden

This is a tough question, but I'll go with Stephen Curry.

LeBron's jumper has been very suspect this postseason. Curry, on the other hand, has averaged 29.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 6.4 assists while shooting 43 percent from 3.

I know a lot of people aren't sold on the Warriors due to their lack of postseason experience. I disagree. I think that narrative is extremely overblown. Steve Kerr will have his guys ready.

Blake Hamilton

As crazy as it sounds, the MVP will not have a bigger impact on this series than LeBron James. It is nearly impossible for anyone to have a bigger an impact on a series than LeBron James.

LeBron makes his presence felt in nearly every aspect of the game and, though Curry is an exceptional passer and scorer, he will have a hard time having as big an impact as James on the defensive end or on his team's psyche.

Zach Martin

Curry. He can singlehandedly turn a game on its ear, both with his shooting ability and his defense. If LeBron struggles to score, his cast has shown they can support him and still pick up a win. However, the Warriors live and die with Steph.

Josh Dhani

Definitely LeBron James. I don't think anyone is more valuable to their team than the four-time MVP. It's one of the rare occasions where the this year's MVP doesn't have the most impact on their team in the Finals.

LeBron is the main reason Cleveland is in the Finals. And with the critics all against him and his team in this series, I think this is where he will step up most. Carrying the third-worst supporting cast statistically in the Finals, expect LeBron to do some work on Golden State this series.

Keys for the Warriors to Win

Klay Thompson Cavs Warriors 2015

Andy McFadden

Defend the 3-point line, rebound and — possibly the hardest of all tasks — contain LeBron James.

The Cavaliers have relied on the 3 in the playoffs a lot. With guys like JR Smith, James Jones and Mike
Miller, the Warriors need to guard the 3-point line and contest without fouling. LeBron is a great passer, and I'm sure he'll find his marksmen in the corner.

Speaking of LeBron, Golden State needs to contain him. Let's be real: No one will completely lock down LeBron in the Finals (Unless the 2011 Mavs are there). The Warriors have three guys in Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, and Harrison Barnes that have the potential to slow down LeBron.

Team defense is key. If Golden State puts one of these guys on LeBron all game long, it probably won't end well. Look out for the Dubs to switch one of the three guys on LeBron a lot. There shouldn't be a tired body checking one of the best players of all time.

Blake Hamilton

For the Warriors to win, they will need to keep the Cavs off the offensive glass and get out on the break early and often.

If the Warriors can contain the offensive rebounding monster known as Tristan Thompson (not the words I thought I'd be saying six months ago) and limit the second-chance points, then their road to the championship will be short and clean.

Zach Martin

Don't double team LeBron, win on their home floor, and get contributions from their bench players.

Josh Dhani

Somehow contain LeBron James. Draymond Green can't be the only guy, they'll need a collective effort and help from the likes of Andre Iguodala and Harrison Barnes as well.

The Warriors should also be able to defend the Cavs' deep-range shooters like Delly, JR Smith and Iman Shumpert. All those guys have been killing defenses from behind the 3-point line throughout the whole playoffs.

LeBron is going to find a way to get it to them, and Golden State needs to find a way to prevent that from happening.

And lastly, of course, hope Stephen Curry stays being Stephen Curry. He always finds ways to score and make magic happen. It's likely happen more often than not this series.

Keys for the Cavaliers to Win

LeBron James Cavaliers May 2015

Andy McFadden

Hit open shots, defend without fouling and don't let players outside of Curry go off.

The Cavaliers will have no shot at winning the series at all if they aren't great from the 3-point line, point blank. LeBron is great at setting up his teammates, and it's worked so far.

Iman Shumpert and JR Smith need to continue hitting open shots so the Cavs can have a chance at winning. LeBron can't do it all. Nobody can, and the 2014 Finals proved that.

Cleveland also needs to defend without fouling. Shumpert is a solid defender but he tends to play overaggressive at times. If he picks up three or four fouls in the early third quarter, that could spell trouble for the Cavs.

Golden State is so good offensively and unlike the Cavaliers, the have tons of offensive weapons. The Cavaliers can't let guys like Harrison Barnes, Marreese Speights and Shaun Livingston go off.

It'll be interesting to see who Kyrie Irving defends, because Cleveland has no place to hide him in this series.

Blake Hamilton

The Cavs have played great transition defense thus far in the playoffs, allowing .95 points per transition possession. The best mark in the playoffs.

But Cleveland haven't seen anything in the East playoffs that remotely resembles the terror that is the Warriors in transition. If LeBron can be LeBron, it will come down to limiting transition opportunities for the Warriors.

Zach Martin

Cavs will need to take Game 1 on the road. Once the Warriors look beatable at home, the Cavs will go for the blood in the water. They need JR Smith to have another big game, and show LeBron he doesn't have to win the series on his own.

Josh Dhani

They will need to be able to contain Stephen Curry somehow. It'll be interesting to see how they guard him. Will a hobbled Kyrie Irving be enough? Could it be like the Heat vs Spurs when LeBron guard Tony Parker, only this time he's guarding Chef Curry?

If they are able to limit everyone else enough and put everything on Curry, it could work out. Curry can't do it all. This Cavs team is very underrated on defense, and I see them doing work.

They will also need to their shooters to step up. LeBron is going to find ways to get them open, and guys like Delly, JR and Iman HAVE to make them. Like Andy said, if they aren't their 3s, this series is over.

Who's Winning the NBA Finals? Finals MVP?

NBA Finals 2015

Andy McFadden

Golden State in 6, because they're simply the better team right now. Sometimes people overcomplicate basketball. I know it's hard to bet against LeBron James, but I really have no choice.

Oh, Finals MVP is interesting question. Klay Thompson has had a subpar postseason and he could break out this series. I'll put my money on Chef Curry winning the award, though.

Blake Hamilton

Warriors in six games, ripping the heart out of the Cleveland faithful at Quicken Loans Arena. This Warriors offense is historic in its proficiency. It will take a superhuman effort from LeBron to keep the Cavs around for a Game 6, but I believe he has it in him.

With a healthy Kyrie, I might have the Cavs taking it in six, but unfortunately it appears as if Irving isn't going to be 100 percent in this series.

The multitude of tools that Steve Kerr has at his disposal will ultimately win this one for Golden State. The Warriors have too many offensive threats, and the Cavs don't have enough personnel to keep up.

I think Curry ultimately become the 11th player to win regular season MVP, Finals MVP and the Larry O'Brien Trophy.

Zach Martin

Warriors win in 7. I think the home team takes every game, frankly, so the Warriors with home court advantage should take it.

It wouldn't shock me for Curry to take Finals MVP, but I think Klay Thompson steps up and plays his best ball of the season.

Josh Dhani

I'm going out on a limb here, and I probably will regret it anyway. However, I'm one of the very few who have the Cleveland Cavaliers winning the NBA Finals against a much superior Golden State Warriors team. Not only that, but winning in SIX games. Yes, six.

I can't bet against LeBron. I didn't last year either, but his Miami Heat squad got smoked by the San Antonio Spurs. On top of all that, this year's team is worse. No Kevin Love, no Anderson Varejao and an injured Kyrie Irving.

Stats say LeBron is carrying the third-worst supporting cast in NBA Finals history. It's doesn't speak well, but man this is LeBron James we are talking about. No one player can beat another team, but they can will their squad.

It doesn't make sense that the Cavs would win this series, but neither did LeBron returning to Cleveland last summer or them even making the Finals. There's been doubt before like when LeBron faced off versus OKC in 2012, and then San Antonio in 2013. But somehow, his teams won.

I just feel like it will bode the same again in this series. I know my prediction is long, but that's just how I feel: Cavs in 6. Rip on me when it doesn't happen, but praise me if it does. I'm excited to see how this series goes.

As for Finals MVP, it'll obviously be LeBron. However, the Swaggy P fandom in me would want JR Smith to win since he always keeps it 100. I'll probably delete my website if that happens, though.

Enjoy the Finals!



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