For a while, the Golden State Warriors didn’t seem guaranteed to reach a fourth consecutive NBA Finals appointment with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Not only did they have to fight their way back from a 3-2 series deficit against the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals, but they also found themselves in a big hole during Game 7.
Then the third quarter happened.replica nfl jerseys wholesale
Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are still in the Bay Area, but this is a different squad than last year’s edition. Consistency hasn’t been as easy to come by, and the offense has featured a distinctly different feel even as the Warriors work their way by the best the Western Conference has to offer.
Now, how does this new challenge facing James stack up against the other tests he’s endured in the NBA Finals?
To determine the order in purely objective fashion, I averaged two numbers for each of the four-time MVP’s nine opponents: their team ratings during both the regular season and the playoffs—but only the portion of the postseason that predated the Finals experience, or else exposure to James would change the numbers and distract from what we’re trying to see. Team rating, as explained by NBA Math, is a combination of replica nfl jerseys china offensive and defensive ratings adjusted for the era such that a score of 100 indicates perfectly average play.
To be clear, each of these nine teams is a historically excellent squad. You almost have to be in order to make the Finals out of the Western Conference in this millennium.
But some have to be better than others. That’s just math for you. replica nfl jersey
Though the Dallas Mavericks successfully game-planned their way to a series victory by forcing LeBron James to become a mere bystander for much of the action and asking the Dwyane Wade/Chris Bosh battery to shoulder heavier loads, this wasn’t a dominant team for much of the year nfl replica jerseys wholesale It took advantage of matchups, had a Hall of Famer in his prime (Dirk Nowitzki) and was brimming with underrated role players (Shawn Marion, in particular), but it rarely throttled opponents.
With a 57-25 record, the Mavs fell behind the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference standings. They earned both the No. 8 offensive and defensive ratings. Not quite dominant on either end, they just beat their foes with a well-rounded game that could feature contributions from plenty of different spots in the lineup. Eight different players earned positive box plus/minuses during the regular season, and 11 did so in the playoffs. nike replica nfl jerseys
Perhaps that’s why they became so tough come playoff time. The rotation featured precious few weaknesses, and the ability to get positive performances from a litany of options negated the concerns that typically exist for a Finals contender not headlined by too many legitimate stars in their primes.