The NBA Finals begin Thursday night in Oakland, a city in northern California.
Last year, the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors to win the NBA championship. It was the first major title for a Cleveland sports team since the 1960s.
The year before, Golden State, based in Oakland, defeated Cleveland for its first championship since 1975.
This year, the two teams will meet again for a chance to find out which one is really the best.
Cleveland is led by one of the NBA’s all-time great players, LeBron James. He is playing in the Finals for the seventh-straight season. He is the first player to do that since the 1960s.
The Golden State Warriors have Steph Curry, the league’s Most Valuable Player last year, and Kevin Durant, one of the NBA’s best players.
The series is “best of seven,” which means the first team to win four games will be champion.
The teams have a number of other All-Star players, they are among the best in the NBA. Cleveland has Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, while Golden State has Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.
So in this match-up of star players, which team will win?
James thinks his Cavaliers will win. “I feel good about our chances, very good,” he said.
But he is in the minority. Many experts are picking the Warriors to win.
Tim Reynolds is the basketball writer for the Associated Press news agency. Reynolds wrote that Golden State will win in seven games.
His reason? Cleveland’s defense is not good enough to stop Golden State.
“James will push Golden State to the limit. But in the end, the 2016 loss will be avenged and the championship confetti will finally fall on Durant.”
The website FiveThirtyEight.com wrote that the Warriors might be the best team in NBA history, even better than last year’s team, which set a record with 73 wins.
The site’s “prediction system” gives Cleveland only a 10 percent chance of winning the championship.
But one NBA coach thinks Cleveland will win. Tom Thibodeau is the coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. He called Golden State “dominant,” but also complimented James.
“You can never bet against LeBron. If a game is close down the stretch, he can take it over," Thibodeau said.
I’m Dan Friedell.
Dan Friedell wrote this story for VOA Learning English based on reports by the Associated Press. Hai Do was the editor.
Which team do you think will win the NBA Finals? Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.
Words in This Story
title – n. the status or position of being the champion in a sport or other competition
avenge – v. to harm or punish someone who has harmed you or someone or something that you care about
confetti – n. small pieces of brightly colored paper that people often throw at celebrations (such as weddings and parties)
dominant – adj. more important, powerful, or successful than most or all others
down the stretch – adj. used to describe the final moments of an event, often used in horse racing