The most important game of the 2016-17 NBA season takes place on Monday, when the Golden State Warriors host the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second Finals rematch of the past month.
You likely recall that the Cavs beat the Warriors on Christmas Day, rubbing even more salt into the open wound that is Golden State’s epic failure in last year’s NBA Finals. And given the Cavs have topped the Dubs four straight times now, one might wonder if LeBron James & Co. are in the collective heads of their Bay Area brethren.
On Friday, FOX Sports NBA insider Chris Broussard joined FS1’s Undisputed to weigh in on the Warriors’ psyche — and why Golden State has to beat the Cavaliers on Monday:
BROUSSARD: We know that Cleveland’s beaten Golden State four straight times. But last year, Golden State had actually beaten Cleveland seven straight times, before they came back from that 3-1 deficit. … So I’m just saying, I don’t want to make too much out of this. If Golden State loses … I’m not going to say they got their number.
That said, Golden State has not beaten an elite team all year. All year. They can beat 95 percent of the league on talent alone. There’s only a handful of litmus test games for them: Cleveland, San Antonio. Do you want to throw in Houston now, maybe? Memphis, now, because they’ve beaten them twice. But they’re 0-5 against those teams. So for them, they need to beat an elite team.
Talking to people up in Golden State, they’ve told me there’s no doubt in their players’ minds that they’re better than Cleveland, even after what happened on Christmas Day. So what I want to see from Golden State, I think it’s important … you look at these teams that have beaten them, three of them are really physical. Memphis, Cleveland, San Antonio. So if they lose again to Cleveland, there begins to be a blueprint on how you beat them.