Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors begins next Thursday night at the Oracle Arena.
It will be the third time in as many years that both teams have met one another in the Finals, and for some players, playing against the Cavaliers or the Warriors is the only championship experience they have.
Two of those players are Golden State's Klay Thompson and Cleveland Kyrie Irving, and the two have got very used to playing against each other over the years. Another meeting will soon take place.
Thompson had nothing but respect for Irving ahead of their NBA Finals clash, but he definitely has a game plan for the Cavaliers star.
The Warriors star said, according to NBC Sports: “He’s done it in big moments, so you’ve got to give him credit. Not only have I seen him do it in the pros, but I’ve seen him do it with the USA Team, too. Kyrie’s a very tough guard. We’ve got a game plan for him, and it’ll be fun.”
Golden State's interim head coach Mike Brown praised Irving as well, saying there's not a lot of other players that can do what the four-time All-Star can do.
Brown said: “There are a lot of guys that can shoot the 3, but that’s all they can do. There are a lot of guys that can dribble drive and finish at the rim, but that’s all they can do. Here’s a guy that can shoot the 3 off the catch-and-shoot, he could shoot the 3 off the dribble. He has medium-game pull-up. He has medium-game floater. And then he can get to the rim. And when he gets to the rim, he can finish in traffic among 7-footers.
“The way he puts English on the ball, how high he gets it off the glass when he needs to, all those things play into a factor of why he is one of the greatest one-on-one players of all time.”
Now though, Irving will be going up against Thompson, and both players have been on fire in the playoffs. The Cleveland point guard lifted his game in the five-game Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics, averaged 25.8 points per game while shooting 62.2 percent.
The Warriors shooting guard, on the other hand, has helped his team stay undefeated in the playoffs so far thanks to his excellent work on defense, guarding the opposition's most dangerous backcourt player in all three rounds.
This is a matchup that you simply can't miss in this year's Finals.