What's changed since the Warriors and Cavaliers met in the NBA Finals 12 months ago?

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The Golden State Warriors overcame the odds against the Oklahoma City Thunder and overturned a 3-1 deficit to advance to the NBA Finals for the second year-running in the Western Conference Finals.

Their prize for emerging victorious from an exhausting seven games? A rematch of last years Finals with a hungry Cleveland Cavaliers. This isn't any Cleveland outfit, though, this is a Cavs team who are desperate to win their first title in franchise history. This is a Cavs team hellbent on revenge after falling to the Warriors last year.

Most importantly, this is a Cleveland side that is at full strength and have been one of the most rampant sides in recent postseason memory.

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But, Golden State have plenty of reasons to be confident themselves. We're taking a look at what's changed in the last 12 months from their inaugural Finals matchup and if the result will be any different this time around.

73 wins

The Golden State Warriors have made history time and time again this season. After opening up the 2015-16 campaign with 24 straight wins, Steve Kerr's troops proceeded to record 73 wins to eclipse the Chicago Bulls record-setting campaign of 72-10 back in 1995-96.

En route to their historic start, the Warriors broke a 131-year-old record of 20–0 set by the 1884 St. Louis Maroons baseball team, to claim the best start to a season in all of the major professional sports in America.

Golden State also won 28 consecutive regular-season games dating back to the 2014–15 season, surpassing the 2012–13 Miami Heat - who interestingly enough were led by LeBron James - for the second-longest winning streak in NBA history.

Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving's fitness

When the Cavaliers battled the Warriors in six games 12 months ago and ultimately came up short, it was a herculean effort from King James that kept the Ohio-based outfit in with a shout.

However, as showcased by their triumphs in the postseason this term, the workload on his shoulders has been significantly reduced.

Last year, Kevin Love suffered a dislocated shoulder during the first round of the playoffs against the Boston Celtics and Kyrie Irving picked up a fractured left knee cap after game one of the Finals with the Warriors.

This time around, Irving has averaged 24.3 points per night during the playoffs whilst going for 45.6 percent from beyond the arc and he's also dished over five assists a night. To Love's credit, he has tallied an average of 17.3 points and 9.6 rebounds. LeBron has certainly got some company this year.

Stephen Curry's superhuman efforts

Stephen Curry was an MVP when these two sides met in the Finals last year, but this year he is a unanimous MVP who has far exceeded his achievements of his previous MVP campaign.

When the 28-year-old point guard led the Warriors to the 2015 title, Curry had poured in an average of 23.8 points a night with 4.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals to boot. However, just when it appeared as though the Dubs No. 30 had set the bar, he bettered his numbers this time around with 30.1 points an outing, 5.4 rebounds and 2.1 steals.

Back in the 2012–13 season, Curry set the NBA record for three-pointers made in a regular season with 272. He surpassed that record in 2015 with 286, and again in 2016 with an incredible 402. The sky is literally the limit for Curry as he continues to redefine what is possible in the league.

The Cavaliers three-point adoption

When you think three-pointers in basketball, naturally, one tends to think of the Golden State Warriors and, particularly, Curry and Klay Thompson.

However, the Cavaliers, much to James' chagrin in the media, have certainly developed that area over the past 12 months.

They dropped an NBA record 25 threes as they dismantled the Atlanta Hawks in the second round this year and with the likes of J.R Smith and Channing Frye coming aboard, the Cavs have become a much more potent force beyond the arc.

In fact, Cleveland have the best three-point percentage in the postseason above both the Spurs and the Warriors. The Cavs hold a percentage of 43.4 from deep whereas one year ago it was 37.4.

Many things have changed between these two sides over the past year, but the key ingredients, motivations for victory and superstar elements all remain the same.

Game one takes place in Oakland on Thursday night; will the Warriors cap a historic season with their second successive Larry O'Brien trophy or will LeBron finally bring a championship to Cleveland?

Eastern Conference
NBA Finals
Stephen Curry
Golden State Warriors
Pacific Division
Western Conference
LeBron James
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division

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