Point/Counterpoint: Who wins the NBA finals?

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Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (30) lays up a shot past Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jerami Grant, right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

The NBA season started last night, and we are here to discuss who is going to take home the trophy at season’s end. We all know it’s going to be Warriors vs. (insert East team here), so we are going to discuss if that East team has a real chance or not.

Kevin Arnold:

I think it’s pretty clear that the Warriors are going to three-peat this year and bring home their fourth championship in five seasons. The Warriors are unquestionably the best team in the entire league, with all five of their starters being all-stars just last year. Granted, DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins won’t play for some time, but four all-stars should be enough to get them by until he can make his debut in the blue and gold. Plus, LeBron James is in the West now, eliminating the Dub’s biggest threat at the title. A LeBron-less Eastern Conference will not be able to handle all the firepower that the NBA’s greatest superteam brings to the arena night-in and night-out.

Mike Mavredakis:

While yes, it is clear that the Warriors are the only real threat out of the West to make a push for the NBA Finals, I think the Boston Celtics match up well with them and will eventually prevail this season to take away that “three-peat.” With a healthy lineup of Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford and Jayson Tatum, the East is theirs for the taking. The Celtics have a deep bench consisting of potential Sixth-Man of the Year Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart and big Aron Baynes. It would take a minimum of six games, but the Boston Celtics have the firepower and the fanbase to get past the Warriors. Last year when the Warriors won, it seemed like they did not even care. It was an expectation. This year things will be different. Winning is not guaranteed and this year it will not be. Celtics in 7.

Arnold:

Winning is an expectation when a team has the record for most wins in a regular season in NBA history. No matter who the Celtics have, no matter how talented they are, there’s not a chance they can stop the Warriors enough to win a seven-game series. Even with Klay Thompson struggling on opening night, Steph dropped a near triple-double with a solid performance from Kevin Durant, arguably the second-best player in the world. There’s matchup problems across the board for an inexperienced and young Celtics team. The path to a title has never been easier for the Warriors and with the experience on their side, it’s pretty easy to say the Larry O’Brien trophy will reside in the Bay Area for yet another year.

Mavredakis:

It will be an uphill climb once the Finals hit, but a projected top-4 seed could not beat the Celtics on opening night despite Kyrie Irving dropping a measly seven points. The Warriors played a Russell Westbrook-less Oklahoma City Thunder, and only won by eight points. The Warriors rely on the their stars to win every night, they got a combined 21 points from their bench yesterday. The Celtics, on the other hand, got a total of 44 points off of the bench. When one of their stars struggles, they have the support of the bench to pick them up. The Celtics may be young, but that also means they are fresh and will have the legs to make it through the season. Only one Celtics player played 30 minutes last night as they can afford to not burn their studs every day. The bench will be the difference at the end of the year because the Celtics can afford to play them. All Golden State can do is hope Curry and Durant drop 30 a piece and when they are not in, hope the bench does not give up their lead. No NBA team could trust Quinn Cook and Jonas Jerebko to hold down the fort. I will say again, Celtics in 7.


Mike Mavredakis is a campus correspondent for the Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at michael.quinn-mavredakis@uconn.edu.

Kevin Arnold is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at kevin.arnold@uconn.edu.

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