The Warriors won 67 games in the regular season, more than any other team. They had the NBA’s best defense and second-best offense. They won the league’s more difficult conference with only minor hiccups during their run to the NBA Finals.
But now they trail the Cavaliers, 2-1 – a situation that historically favors teams in Cleveland’s positions.
Who will win the 2015 championship?
Kobe Bryant, analyzing for Sina Sports in China, was asked to predict:
Golden State should win.
But they can’t play tentatively. They can’t play scared. You’ve got play. You’ve got to step up and meet the challenge.
And right now, Cleveland and LeBron, it seems like they want it a lot more. It seems like the game, this championship means a lot more to them.
If you’re Golden State, you have to look in the mirror and ask yourself if you want to step up to this challenge.
I’m generally not a fan of saying teams “should” win or “should have” won. They “could” win or “could have” won. But if we’re saying that, they usually didn’t. And it’s usually for a reason.
I’d agree that, if the Warriors are playing at peak level, they’re the better team. But the Cavaliers have done a much better job dictating the pace and disrupting Golden State’s rhythm. There’s a reason neither team has achieved peak flow, and this style favors Cleveland. Cleveland is also the reason we’re seeing this style.
To say Golden State “should” win unfairly removes too much credit from Cleveland.