Cavaliers vs. Warriors, Part III: ABC15's predictions for the 2017 NBA Finals

The Golden State Warriors took down the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games in the 2015 NBA Finals.

In 2016, the Cavaliers returned the favor by beating the Warriors in seven.  

Cavs vs. Warriors, Act III, is set to begin. 

Will LeBron James bring Cleveland its second world title in as many years, or will Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and the Warriors reclaim their title, as they're heavily favored to do? 

Here are three predictions, including a guest pick, for this year's NBA Finals. 

ABC15 sports director Craig Fouhy

I think we all can agree these playoffs have been anything but spellbinding -- but now, after weeks of lousy basketball, we finally get to see what we’ve been waiting for: the two best teams in the league squaring off in a best-of-seven series that will crown the 2017 champion!

That said, let’s not take for granted what we have seen so far: two of the best teams of the new century playing at such a high level that we shouldn’t take this outstanding display of basketball for granted.

So, which team wins the 2017 trophy? That’s not as easy as Las Vegas thinks it is. In all, there are a combined seven All-Stars on the two teams, and that means at any given time or in any given game, any of these guys could step up and take over the moment. That makes it that much more difficult to predict.

But when all is said and done, I honestly believe the Warriors are the better team. Given their ability to spread the floor and score in transition, I’m going with Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Golden State in six games.

ABC15 sports anchor Jason Snavely

Regardless of how this series plays out, it’s certainly going to be worth watching. The 2017 NBA Finals made history before the very first tip.

It's the same matchup for the third year in row -- the first time that's ever happened. Not one, not two, but three MVPs will be on the floor at the same time (also a first). The Golden State Warriors head in a perfect 13-0 in this year’s postseason (you guessed it -- another first).

But the greatest reason to watch is that this series is undoubtedly between the top two teams in the NBA. And it’s not even close. I believe the series itself won’t be close, either.

The Cavaliers may have the best player in the world, but I believe the Warriors take the first rubber match in NBA Finals history. The series lasted seven games last year, but Cleveland needed a Draymond Green suspension and an Andrew Bogut injury for that to happen. If the Warriors can keep all their players on the floor, they’ll take the 2017 rematch in five games.

abc15.com sportswriter Shane Dale

The Warriors were 16 games better than the Cavaliers were in the regular season and have yet to lose a game in the playoffs. They destroyed the Cavs in their last meeting in January. Oh, and they added one of the best players on the planet (Kevin Durant) to an already-loaded roster.

So, naturally, I’m picking Cleveland to repeat as world champs.

Consider the number of teams (Jordan’s Bulls in '93, Olajuwon’s Rockets in ‘95, Duncan’s Spurs in ‘07) who had underwhelming regular seasons but turned it on in the postseason when it mattered most. LeBron’s Cavs are cut from the same cloth. Also, Golden State's home-court advantage isn't likely to matter in this series, as Cleveland is a perfect 7-0 away from home this postseason.

The Warriors are on a roll and have more individual talent than Cleveland does, but their cakewalk to the NBA Finals hasn’t done them any favors in preparation for their first dose of real postseason competition they’re about to face. 

Look for Cleveland to take an early series lead and never look back. Cavs over Warriors in seven games. Again.

Bonus prediction: ASU head men's basketball coach Bobby Hurley

It’s hard to project. You never want to underestimate what LeBron and his group is capable of doing. But I don’t know -- I just have a feeling that this is Durant’s time. I’ve been a big fan of Kevin Durant; he’s been one of my favorite players in the NBA. It’s hard to predict and say who’s gonna win, but I’ll be rooting for Golden State. 

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