Expect a thrilling NBA Finals series

Golden State Warriors' leader Stephen Curry has exemplified grace under pressure.

Golden State Warriors’ leader Stephen Curry has exemplified grace under pressure.

By Carmen Glover

When the NBA Finals series between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors begins on Thursday, June 2, excitement will color the mood of the players and fans from the tip-off because both teams have something to prove.

LeBron James took his talents back to the Cleveland Cavaliers where he intends to win not one, not two, but several chamionships.

LeBron James took his talents back to the Cleveland Cavaliers where he intends to win not one, not two, but several championships.

The Warriors aim to demonstrate convincingly that their impressive, 73-game, history making, regular season numbers, and back-from-the-brink second round match up with the Oklahoma City Thunder were not anomalies. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers intend to do everything possible from preventing the Warriors from defending their title as champions.

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving (2) and LeBron James (23) celebrate the team's victory.

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving (2) and LeBron James (23) celebrate one of the team’s many victories.

In every respect, the NBA Finals series will be rich with high emotions, intense plays, edge-of-the seat drama and palpable, raw, unchecked girt. This is what the playoffs are made of, a fierce battle between competitive, evenly matched teams. After several days of relaxation from their series with the Toronto Raptors, LeBron James, Kyrie  Irving, Kevin Love and the rest of the Cavaliers squad are rearing to take the fight to the Warriors, especially since James made it very clear during the regular season that he was unimpressed with Stephen Curry being named the MVP.

The Golden State Warriors celebrate their trip to the NBA Finals.

Klay Thompson (11) and Draymond Green (center) joyously celebrate The Golden State Warriors’ second consecutive trip to the NBA Finals.

Stoic and seemingly unswayed by James’ views, the understated Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and the rest of the Warriors team have proven that they are scrappy, focused and driven to succeed. Let the games begin!–OnPointPress.net–

 

Warriors aim to repeat as NBA Champions

After a close MVP race this NBA season, James Harden (l) and Stephen Curry (r) are the clear frontrunners to win the award.

James Harden (l) and Stephen Curry (r) will continue their rivalry during the post season with game two tonight.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The Golden State Warriors, toast of the NBA during the regular season, entered the post-season on a good note. The Warriors beat last season’s Western Conference opponents, the Houston Rockets, in their game opener with their star, Steph Curry, scoring 24 points before leaving the game due to a recurring ankle injury.

The Warriors started the regular season with 24 straight wins, a record in the NBA. They capped their historic season with 73 wins, setting a new record for wins in the regular season by winning one more than the Chicago Bulls in their 1990s heyday.  Anything short of an NBA title will be a major disappointment for the Warriors.

The Golden State Warriors celebrate their trip to the NBA Finals.

The Golden State Warriors celebrate their trip to the NBA Finals in 2015.

Curry, last season’s regular season MVP, was better this year despite head coach Steve Kerr missing the first half of the season recovering from back surgery. Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and others are performing well. Overall, the team played all season with a heightened level of confidence earned by winning it all last season.

This year the Warriors lost only once to a team (San Antonio Spurs) that finished in the top four in their conference. They finished second to the Spurs for the best home record in the NBA with 39 wins and just 2 losses. There is no question they are the overwhelming favorite to win the title this year.

Stephen Curry and the top seeded Golden State Warriors now know their opponent in the Western Conference Finals. Now the MVP must play at a high level to get his team to the NBA Finals.

Stephen Curry and the top seeded Golden State Warriors  are focused on repeating as NBA champions this year.

Essentially, there are no excuses for the Warriors to lose in the playoffs. Curry proved on Saturday that he could deliver results despite his ankle Injury and the same dedication is expected of his team mates. Last season, LeBron James led the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals minus two of his best teammates for a significant portion of the playoffs as Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving both endured serious injury during the playoffs.

Fatigue cannot be used as an excuse as the bulk of the Warriors team is in their physical prime. The Warriors they have rested players at various junctions throughout the season. They have defeated all competitors this season and there is no reason not to expect a dominant post-season performance from the defending champions. That is what an all-time great team is expected to do.–OnPointPress.net–

 

Golden State Warriors win 2015 NBA title, Iguodala is MVP, after magical season

The Golden State Warriors shoed teamwork is needed to win NBA Finals 2015.

The Golden State Warriors showed that teamwork is needed to win NBA Finals 2015.

Stephen Curry has led his team with humility and poise.

Stephen Curry has led his team with humility and poise.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The Golden State Warriors responded to a 2 -1 series deficit by winning three consecutive games to win their first NBA Championship since 1975 with a final score of 105 – 97 on Tuesday, June 16 in Cleveland. Regular season MVP Stephen Curry led the team with 25 points in the game, but the Warriors got great production from forwards Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green. Green notched a triple-double with 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists while Iguodala tied the team’s lead in scoring with 25 points and was named NBA Finals MVP.

Golden State Warriors' leader Stephen Curry has exemplified grace under pressure.

Golden State Warriors’ leader Stephen Curry has exemplified grace under pressure.

LeBron James finished the game with a near triple-double himself scoring 32 points with 18 rebounds and 9 assists. The Cavaliers clearly missed the injured Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love as they struggled to find consistent production throughout the series. The Warriors were able to capitalize on 16 turnovers by the Cavaliers to generate good ball movement that resulted in 28 team assists for the game.

Andre Iguodala was named NBA Finals MVP, beating out self-proclaimed "best player in the world" Lebron James from the Cleveland Caveliers.

Andre Iguodala was named NBA Finals MVP, beating out self-proclaimed “best player in the world” Lebron James from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In the battle of first year NBA head coaches, the Warriors’ Steve Kerr was able to out-strategize the Cavaliers’ David Blatt. The series shifted after Kerr’s game 4 decision to start Iguodala and the Warriors never looked back. In all fairness to Blatt, the Cavaliers were not left with many options after losing Irving during game one, but the team still had their chances in the series. Cleveland has nothing to be ashamed of as they played valiantly through adversity and received extraordinary efforts from their leader James. One can only wonder what the series would have looked like if the Cavaliers were healthier.

Former Golden State Warriors Coach Mark Jackson set the foundation for the team's successful 2014-2015 season and NBA 2015 Finals win.

Former Golden State Warriors Coach Mark Jackson set the foundation for the team’s successful 2014-2015 season and NBA 2015 Finals win.

On the other hand, the win caps off a magical season for Curry, who becomes just the third point guard to earn regular season MVP honors and win the NBA title in the same season. The splash brothers, Curry and Klay Thompson, made their former NBA playing dads, Dell Curry and Mychal Thompson, proud just in time for Father’s Day.

Steve Kerr seems like a genius, in hindsight, for spurning the New York Knicks and choosing to lead the young Golden State Warriors team that former NBA coach and current TV Analyst Mark Jackson assembled.

Steve Kerr seems like a genius, in hindsight, for spurning the New York Knicks and choosing to lead the young Golden State Warriors team that former NBA coach and current TV Analyst Mark Jackson assembled.

There will be plenty of celebrating in the Bay Area in the next couple of days after a very exciting season. Congratulations to the Warriors, 2015 NBA champions, and congratulations to St. John’s product Mark Jackson who was instrumental in implementing the winning philosophy and culture that Kerr inherited in leading a young, talented, likeable team to the pinnacle of victory..–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and licensed insurance agent with HealthMarkets. Follow him on Twitter at @GloverIsGood.

Warriors, Cavaliers face-off in historic NBA Finals matchup, who will win?

LeBron James (c) will lead the Cavaliers to Oakland to face the Golden State Warriors. Game 1 is Thursday, June 4.

LeBron James (c) will lead the Cavaliers to Oakland to face league MVP Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors for an exciting NBA Finals series. Game 1 is Thursday, June 4.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The NBA Finals are set to begin Thursday June 4, with league MVP Stephen Curry and his Golden State Warriors (67 – 15) hosting LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers (53 – 29). While the Warriors had the best record in the NBA this regular season, the Cavaliers have had the best record so far in this postseason, losing only twice. The Warriors are looking to end a 40-year NBA championship drought, while the Cavaliers are looking for the organization’s first title.

Steph Curry's (l) 3-year old daughter Riley, his wife Ayesha (c), and his mother Sonya (r) have received as much attention as the team this postseason.

Steph Curry’s (l) 3-year old daughter Riley, his wife Ayesha (c), and his mother Sonya (r) have received as much attention as the team this postseason.

The Warriors enter the NBA Finals as the favorites due to their strong regular season performance, an MVP season from their best player, and a strong postseason run of their own. Curry receives the bulk of the attention as his star power continues to rise this season, but the Warriors are a balanced team with veteran players who hope to cash in on this championship opportunity. There is no doubt that the Cavaliers game plan will center around slowing down Curry and Klay Thompson. The Warriors and first- year head coach Steve Kerr will spend the upcoming week preparing to counter defensive strategies against their stars.

LeBron James celebrated his 6th trip to the NBA Finals by taking a selfie with his wife Savannah, and his sons Lebron Jr. (center) and Bryce (bottom).

LeBron James celebrated his 6th trip to the NBA Finals by taking a selfie with his wife Savannah, and his sons Lebron Jr. (center) and Bryce (bottom).

The Cavaliers will be the underdogs in the NBA Finals but LeBron James is expected to be the difference maker if the team is to overcome the challenge. James is making his 6th NBA Finals appearance, 5th consecutive, and is anxious to bring a championship to Cleveland. NBA rookie head coach David Blatt has had to make numerous adjustments due to a myriad of injuries to key contributors this postseason. Blatt admits, “It’s a lot easier having James on your team.”

The Golden State Warriors celebrate their trip to the NBA Finals.

The Golden State Warriors celebrate their trip to the NBA Finals.

The Cavaliers aren’t the only ones dealing with injury concerns. Curry suffered a nasty fall in game 4, landing on his head, which required testing for a concussion. In game 5, Klay Thompson received an accidental knee to the face and suffered a concussion as the team closed out the Houston Rockets. The Warriors will take full advantage of the week off to let their stars recuperate. The Warriors will have to continue being an efficient shooting team, showing intensity on defense if they are to be victorious in the Finals.

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving (2) and LeBron James (23) celebrate the team's victory.

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving (2) and LeBron James (23) celebrate the team’s victory.

Kyrie Irving will also benefit from the week-long break, as he had to miss games this postseason due to knee and ankle injuries. The Cavaliers have seen mid-season acquisitions J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, and Timothy Mosgov contribute to the team’s success this playoff season. Tristan Thompson and Matthew Delavadova have also been key in the Cavaliers’ victories so far. James will have to continue playing at an exceptionally high level since most of his teammates are making their first NBA Finals appearance.

If the Warriors win the championship, Curry will likely be the Finals MVP as well.

If the Warriors win the championship, Curry will likely be the Finals MVP as well.

The NBA Finals looks to be exciting as both teams play at a fast pace and have players with the ability to have huge performances. OnPointPress.net’s  editorial director is picking the Warriors to win the NBA Finals with Curry being the Finals MVP, calling the Warriors “the team of destiny.”

James is looking to add his 3rd NBA Finals trophy to his collection.

James is looking to add his 3rd NBA Finals trophy to his collection.

This writer is picking the Cleveland Cavaliers to win their first NBA championship and LeBron James to win his third NBA Finals trophy. Either way, the NBA Finals should be compelling.

Share your NBA Finals pick on our social media sites with re-tweets to support the Warriors and favorites in support of the Cavaliers.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a licensed insurance agent with HealthMarkets. Follow me @GloverIsGood on Twitter.com.

NBA Conference Finals feature compelling matchups

Stephen Curry and the top seeded Golden State Warriors now know their opponent in the Western Conference Finals. Now the MVP must play at a high level to get his team to the NBA Finals.

Stephen Curry and the top seeded Golden State Warriors now know their opponent in the Western Conference Finals. Now the MVP must play at a high level to get his team to the NBA Finals.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The Western Conference finals are now set as the Golden State Warriors will host the Houston Rockets after a convincing game 7 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday afternoon. The Eastern Conference championship will also feature the top 2 seeds in the conference as the Atlanta Hawks will host the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Curry received his MVP reward a couple weeks ago, now he hopes to add a ring to his trophy.

Curry received his MVP reward a few weeks ago, now he hopes to add a ring to his trophy.

This postseason could conclude with history being made as 2 of the remaining teams have never won an NBA title. The Warriors only NBA championship came in 1974-75 with a team featuring Hall of Fame players Rick Barry and a rookie at the time Jamaal Wilkes. This Warriors team hopes to continue the momentum they created in defeating a tough Memphis Grizzlies team. Stephen Curry, fresh off of winning NBA MVP this year, will go head-to-head with the runner-up to the MVP award in James Harden.

Dwight Howard (l) and James Harden (r) are hoping to return to the NBA Finals together after having suffered separate defeats on the biggest stage.

Dwight Howard (l) and James Harden (r) are hoping to return to the NBA Finals together after having suffered separate defeats on the biggest stage.

The Rockets are hoping to build on their own momentum after becoming just the 9th team to overcome a 3 – 1 deficit and win the series. Harden and Dwight Howard are hoping to return to the NBA Finals stage together where they were both on the losing side in their own separate championship appearances. The Rockets won back-to-back championships in 1994 and 1995 with Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon leading the way.

If the Hawks are to advance, they must continue to receive good production from their starters, (l - r) Paul Milsap, Al Horford, Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, and Jeff Teague (not pictured).

If the Hawks are to advance, they must continue to receive good production from their starters, (l – r) Paul Milsap, Al Horford, Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, and Jeff Teague (not pictured).

The Atlanta Hawks are also looking to achieve an historic end to their season as the franchise searches for its first NBA title. The Hawks have had several close games so far this playoffs, but have found ways to have different players step up at key moments. Though the Hawks are the higher seed, many consider the Cavaliers the favorites to win the series, largely because of the brilliance of LeBron James in recent years in the playoffs.

LeBron James (l) and his teammates Tristan Thompson (m) and Kyrie Irving (r) are looking to continue moving through the playoffs despite injuries to key players this postseason.

LeBron James (l) and his teammates Tristan Thompson (m) and Kyrie Irving (r) are looking to continue moving through the playoffs despite injuries to key players this postseason.

If the Cavaliers are able to get past the Hawks, it will make the 5th consecutive NBA Finals appearance for LeBron James, a feat reminiscent of the 1960’s and those Bill Russell led Boston Celtics. The Cavaliers will have an uphill battle considering they are without starting forward Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving has been battling injuries throughout the playoffs as well. So far injuries have not impacted the playoffs significantly yet as the 2 top seeds in each conference are playing for a chance to go to the NBA Finals.

Earlier this year on OnPointPress.net, this writer said offense, not defense wins championships in this NBA. Time will tell if that theory continues to hold true this year in the NBA Finals.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr is a sports aficionado and a licensed insurance agent with Health Markets. Follow me @GloverIsGood Twitter.com.

Will the NBA’s post-season live up to its exciting regular season?

The Golden State Warriors (top) and Atlanta Hawks (bottom) enter the playoffs as #1 seeds in their conference this year.

The Golden State Warriors (top) and Atlanta Hawks (bottom) enter the playoffs as #1 seeds in their conference this year.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The NBA regular season came to a scintillating conclusion Wednesday night as playoff positions were finally set. The eighth seed was decided on game 82 for both conferences and the scoring title was settled as well. The end of the regular season means that struggling teams can move on to making preparations for betters seasons next year, while playoff teams prepare for the post-season marathon.

After a close MVP race this NBA season, James Harden (l) and Stephen Curry (r) are the clear frontrunners to win the award.

After a close, nail-biting MVP race this NBA season, James Harden (l) and Stephen Curry (r) are the clear front-runners to win the award.

The NBA post-season will have to be spectacular to equal the exciting regular season which featured an MVP race for the ages, a scoring title race decided on the final day, and several meaningful games Wednesday night.  The Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks set season records for franchise victories, while teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics rebounded from the cellar of the NBA last year to make the playoffs this year.

Anthony Davis (l) and Kyrie Irving (r) are 2 of several notable players making their playoff debuts this postseason.

Anthony Davis (l) and Kyrie Irving (r) are two of the many notable players making their playoff debuts this postseason.

The pairings for the playoffs are:

EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF MATCHUPS
1. Atlanta Hawks vs. 8. Brooklyn Nets
2. Cleveland Cavaliers vs. 7. Boston Celtics
3. Chicago Bulls vs. 6. Milwaukee Bucks
4. Toronto Raptors vs. 5. Washington Wizards

WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF MATCHUPS
1. Golden State Warriors vs. 8. New Orleans Pelicans
2. Houston Rockets vs. 7. Dallas Mavericks
3. Los Angeles Clippers vs. 6. San Antonio Spurs
4. Portland Trail Blazers vs. 5. Memphis Grizzlies*
*Grizzlies will have home-court advantage

The playoffs will be different this season as playoff regulars like Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, and Russell Westbrook will be absent this year with their teams’ failure to secure playoff berths. The NBA post-season is in good hands though, as emerging superstars like Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, and James Harden will have the opportunity to add important playoff experience to their impressive regular season resumes.

In the end, it is highly possible that either LeBron James (c) and his Cavaliers or Tim Duncan (l) and Greg Popovich (r) and the Spurs will be playing for the championship again this year.

In the end, it is highly possible that either LeBron James (c) and his Cavaliers or Tim Duncan (l) and Greg Popovich (r) and the Spurs will be playing for the championship again this year.

Other stars like Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, John Wall, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving will be able to take the next step in their careers and advance deep into the playoffs for the first time. As interesting as it will be to see some of the new faces in the post-season, in the end, LeBron James and the San Antonio Spurs will likely play a major role in determining the championship. Again.–OnPointPress.net

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a training/benefits consultant. Follow me @GloverIsGood on Twitter.com.

OKC’s Russell Westbrook’s popularity soars in wide open NBA MVP race

(l-r) James Harden, Stephen Curry, LeBron James, and Russell Westbrook have made strong cases for NBA MVP this season.

(l-r) James Harden, Stephen Curry, LeBron James, and Russell Westbrook have made strong cases for NBA MVP this season.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

There are roughly six weeks left in the current NBA regular season and the race for NBA’s Most Valuable Player is still wide open. As teams finish the last quarter of the regular season, fans will weigh in on their favorite for MVP this year. The MVP race is indicative of an excellent NBA regular season that has about two thirids of the teams jockeying for playoff position at this time.

Karl Malone finished just ahead of Alonzo Mourning and Tim Duncan to win his 2nd MVP in 1998-99.

Karl Malone finished just ahead of Alonzo Mourning and Tim Duncan to win his 2nd MVP in 1998-99.

This MVP race is setting up to be the closest race since the 1998-99 lockout shortened NBA season when Karl Malone won his second MVP award. What makes this season comparable to that one is that there was no strong favorite to win the NBA title for that season which seemed to enhance the importance of the regular season. This season has the same uncertainty about the postseason, which makes playoff seeding and the regular season seem more important than usual. Here is the case for the top MVP candidates:

LeBron James is in the MVP conversation every season and this  year is no different. He might be in line for his 5th MVP this year.

LeBron James is in the MVP conversation every season and this year is no different. He might be in line for his 5th MVP this year.

Four- time regular season MVP-winner LeBron James is helping his Cleveland Cavaliers move up in the standings in the Eastern Conference while having his usual fantastic season. James is currently third in scoring with 26.3 ppg and seventh in assists at 7.3 apg. His value is not only determined simply by his numbers as the Cavaliers had a recent stretch of winning 19 out of 21 games. James can solidify his fifth MVP if his team can continue moving up in the standings because James will continue playing at his current high level.

Stephen Curry has emerged as a top star this year while his team has emerged as a title contender this season.

Stephen Curry has emerged as a top star this year while his team has emerged as a title contender this season.

Stephen Curry has helped the Golden State Warriors  reach the top of the Western Conference at this point of the season. Curry is currently fifth in scoring  with 23.8 ppg sixth in assists at 7.8 apg. Curry has seen his national profile grow in conjunction with the success of his team this season. At this time, the Warriors have the best record in the West at 47 – 12. If they can maintain their lead in the conference, it will greatly help Curry’s MVP case.

James Harden won the 6th man of the Year Award a few years ago while playing for the Thunder. Harden is hoping to add MVP to his mantle in Houston this year.

James Harden won the 6th man of the Year Award a few years ago while playing for the Thunder. Harden is hoping to add MVP to his mantle in Houston this year.

James Harden has been excellent this season for the Houston Rockets. His impact has  has been necessary with Dwight Howard’s many injuries. Harden is currently second in scoring with ppg 26.9 and tenth in assists at 7 apg. His scoring and playmaking have helped the Rockets stay in the hunt for home court advantage in the playoffs this season. If Harden can regain the scoring lead and help the Rockets finish as a top four seed in the West, it will drastically help his case for MVP.

Russell Westbrook's recent hot stretch has helped change perceptions that Westbrook is a selfish player. Westbrook may add regular season MVP to All-Star game MVP if continues playing at his current pace.

Russell Westbrook’s recent hot stretch has helped change perceptions that Westbrook is a selfish player. Westbrook may add regular season MVP to All-Star game MVP if continues playing at his current pace.

Russell Westbrook has helped keep the Oklahoma City Thunder’s playoff hopes alive with the prolonged absence of last season’s MVP Kevin Durant. Westbrook’s recent stretch of four consecutive triple-doubles has helped move him to the top of the NBA in scoring with 27 ppg and fourth in assists at 8.2 apg. The Thunder are still battling with the Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Pelicans for the final playoff spot in a tough Western Conference. If Westbrook can maintain his high level of play and help the Thunder move up from the 8th seed, it would help his MVP case.

This season will be remembered for many things: James’ reunification in Cleveland, injuries to top stars, and the disappointment of some the NBA’s most esteemed franchises. However, the playoffs and MVP race will likely make this season remembered fondly for years to come.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a training/benefits consultant. Follow me @GloverIsGood on Twiiter.com. For business inquiries contact (646)309-1938.