The Cleveland Cavaliers will take on the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals on Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET. After dominating the Warriors in last night’s Game 6, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers appear to have captured all of the momentum. In addition to Stephen Curry’s meltdown, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was also visibly shaken in his press conference by what has transpired over the past two games. Draymond Green, a player that always seems to be in the middle of controversy, also lost his cool when being called for a foul towards the end of the game.
Regardless of the Warriors’ struggles and the Cavaliers’ momentum, Golden State is still a 5-point favorite in Game 7, according to Vegas Insider. While the Cavaliers defeated the Warriors on their home court in Game 5, it is going to be extremely difficult to beat them again in Game 7. With a record of 39-2 on their home court in the regular season, the Warriors were practically unbeatable.
If the Cavaliers manage to defeat the Warriors on Sunday and win the 2016 NBA Finals, James is going to be the unquestioned MVP. If the Warriors defeat the Cavaliers, James could still conceivably be the best candidate to win the MVP. While the Warriors defeated the Cavaliers in Game 6 to win the 2015 NBA Finals, James was the best player in the series. Many called for him to win the Finals MVP, but it went to Andre Iguodala.
As great as James was in last year’s NBA Finals, he is even better this year. As The Big Lead reports, no other player in the series has come close to matching James’ production.
“As Brian Windhorst noted, there was a stretch where he scored or assisted on 27 consecutive Cavs points. In these NBA Finals, LeBron has averaged 41.2 minutes, 30.2 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 8.5 assists per game. This is crazy! No Warrior has been nearly as consistent. Green missed Game 5 and was on a milk carton in Game 6. Curry scored under 20 points per game in Games 1-3, and shot 16-41 from the field in Games 5 and 6. Klay Thompson lit up Game 5 (37 points), but has been otherwise ordinary.”
While Curry is a great shooter, quite possibly the greatest in the history of the NBA, he does not have the same effect on the floor that James does. If Curry is not scoring, his impact on the floor is minimal. If James is not scoring, his defense and other attributes are more strongly felt.
In addition to averaging outstanding numbers across the board, James also leads the finals in total points, assists, blocks, and steals. With 68 rebounds, he is tied for the most. This includes players on both the Cavaliers and the Warriors. Unless James has an awful Game 7 and Curry has the greatest game of his career, he is going to have a strong case as the NBA Finals MVP, and this includes a scenario where the Cavaliers lose.
While it is extremely rare that a player from a losing team wins the Finals MVP, it has actually happened. As AL notes, Jerry West of the Los Angeles Lakers was named the Finals MVP despite his team losing to the Boston Celtics.
“The Lakers’ Jerry West won the first NBA Finals MVP award in 1969 despite the Lakers’ 4-3 series loss to Boston and is the only NBA player to have earned the award while playing on the losing team. He averaged 38 points in that series, posting 42 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists in a 108-106 loss in Game 7.”
As Forbes reports, James is currently a -260 favorite to win the MVP. The next closest player is Curry at 3-1. A tremendous game by Curry and the Warriors could change everything, but James is truly having a historic postseason. Win or lose, James is going to be in the conversation for the NBA Finals MVP after Sunday night’s Game 7.
[Photo by Bob Donnan – Pool/Getty Images]