NBA Finals 2018: Under-the-radar players to watch for Cavs-Warriors

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry celebrates with teammates as they receive their trophy after defeating the Houston Rockets in Game 7 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals Monday

But just because these two teams have met the past three years, that doesn't mean there's nothing to talk about heading into this series.

Adjusting for the playoff competition, they had a net rating of 5.1 points per 100 possessions, but that's not factoring in Kyrie Irving's injury.

JAMES' SHOT: James isn't ready to make any bold predictions about how great he might be in his eighth straight Finals. "I don't even think that far [ahead]".

When asked if Love would be able to play in Game 1 on Thursday (9 p.m. ET, ABC), Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said, "I hope so". I won't look at raw plus/minus here, which is rife with issues. They have four All-Stars - Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green. All three are some of the biggest names for some of the biggest sports apparel companies in the world, Nike (NKE - Free Report) for James and Durant, and Under Armour (UAA - Free Report) for Curry. Those numbers change to +13.4 and +14.8, respectively.

With such a odd season the Cavaliers have been playing as the underdog throughout this postseason. LeBron James willed his Cavaliers back to the big stage with another spectacular performance against Boston. With James, those skyrocketed to +2 and +11.1, respectively. "It's a new team over there, so the other guys, we've got to lock in on their tendencies". Cleveland had a -6.5 rating not counting James in the regular season - totaling their player BPM's without including him - and strangely enough a similar rating of -6.3 in the playoffs.

The Warriors have more talent, by a very wide margin.

James "figured" the Warriors would win because of "their championship DNA".

According to a report from ESPN, the Warriors are "overwhelming" favorites to win the title. "It's been good, it's been bad". They played on the same Little League baseball team, nearly making it to the Little League World Series. Each team's offense is evaluated on four stylistic spectrums.

The NBA introduced for the first time this season jersey sponsorship patches, which allowed teams to negotiate their own deals with companies for the rights to a 2.5 inch by 2.5 inch patch on players' left sleeves.

Pace is measured with the average length of an offensive possession from Inpredictable, a more accurate representation for how quickly a team is working than traditional pace. Be better. That's especially true in the case of the East. However, in the Western Conference Finals, the Rockets were able to goad the Cavaliers into a slower and more static offensive approach. I don't think the Cavaliers have a chance in this series, but no one is expecting them to be successful at all so the pressure is on the Warriors in this one. "It's another thing to live up to them". The model is trained off historical game data, and accounts for rest, travel, team strength, and matchup.

"The level that I can play at is to be seen, but the level that I put into the game and put into my craft is who I am", he said.

At last we come to the NBA Finals, Warriors-Cavs IV.

Strong words from Thompson about the rest of the National Basketball Association, but that doesn't mean he's wrong. Though the Warriors won the 2015 and 2017 championships, James proved in 2016 that even with the underdog team he can lead the Cavaliers to victory. But for me, I understand and I know how much I put into the game. The best way to beat them?

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