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How The Most Important NBA Finals Matchup Lies Between Kevin Love and Draymond Green

While Durant, LeBron, Curry and Kyrie steal the spotlight, it’s going to be the battle of the bigs to see who brings home the title

By Dan O'SheaPublished 7 years ago 4 min read
Getty Images/ Thearon W. Henderson

The buildup for this NBA Finals is bigger than anything in recent memory. With the combination of this being the rubber match following the last two Finals, the obviously apparent disdain these two teams have for one another, and this year’s playoffs being less entertaining than the Summer League, everyone is ready the clash of the titans.

Now that you’ve finally caught your breath after complaining about how top heavy the league is since the playoffs began six weeks ago, we finally get the superteam matchup we’ve been waiting for. You already know what’s on the line. LeBron’s quest to take down Jordan while Durant and Curry try to prove two MVPs are indeed better than one. The only thing is, the most important battle that will decide the series goes beyond those who have been declared the most valuable player.

There are insane matchups littered all over the court. From the shoot out between JR and Klay that will make D-Day look like a game of paintball, to Tristan Thompson and Zaza Pachulia playing their own game of rugby under the hoop, to the super star battles in between, you can pick any battle to watch. If you’re looking to find the one that’ll decide the series, look no further than the matchup between Draymond Green and Kevin Love.

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Love and Green are both perfect indications of what the NBA has become. Stretch fours who given traditional big men nightmares by making them leave their sanctity under the rim. Still, this matchup goes beyond having a few centers run around like Jahlil Okafor trying to play defense on, well, anyone.

Both of these players have roles that go well beyond playing third or fourth banana for a team loaded with superstars. From emotions to on court performances, it’s a question of whether these strengths or weaknesses will fuel the Finals.

One of the biggest threats both of these players' poise is their ability to completely unravel a defense. For Love, if he starts to get hot, it opens up the entire court. He can park along the perimeter, forcing teams to keep an eye out for him while Kyrie acts like it’s a game of streetball and LeBron treats the rim like it owes him money. Freeing up the lane is the deadliest thing for a team trying to stop Cleveland. Letting Love beat you is the easiest and most common choice, but that’s the problem these days. Love will actually beat you.

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Green is similar to Love in the sense that he changes the way an entire defense is shaped. Both players influence the game once they get their shot going, but it’s what happens after that ends up being the poison for a defense. Whether it’s Curry, Klay, or Durant causing defenses to collapse on them, it frees up Green for an open look. You’d expect this to end up with the trash talking big man burying threes while making sure everyone within state lines hears about it, but it’s his ability to make the extra pass to the lethal shooters surrounding him that makes him such a weapon.

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The weird thing about both of these players is they both have the ability to stop themselves. One of Green’s biggest weapons is his mouth. You’ve heard him talk smack to everyone, from legends like Paul Pierce about his farewell tour to players you probably haven’t ever heard of. Even Love recognizes the importance.

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Green’s mouth can hurt everyone, but mostly himself.

Last year, we all remember when Green went full karate kid and crane kicked LeBron where the sun don’t shine. It was the beginning of the end for Golden State, as he was suspended for Game 6, and gave the Cavs all the momentum they needed. If he doesn’t keep himself in check, the Warriors could lose their most important defensive player.

Green walks around and gets into other players’ heads, while Love’s biggest weakness is getting into his own. He’s lacked confidence at times, and will completely disappear after an on-court scolding by LeBron. That’s where Green comes in. His plan is to rattle Kevin Love to the point where he’s back thinking about his dark days in Minnesota.

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It really is that simple. You think about the Cavs, and you’re concerned about slowing down Kyrie or maybe even pretending to stop LeBron. Realistically, Love needs to be taken out of the offense. Compare Cleveland’s run last season and this season, and it’s clear Love is a huge factor.

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You’re probably thinking “that clearly doesn’t matter at all because LeBron put an entire city on his back and still won a Finals”, but let’s not forget the Warriors slightly approved by adding a former MVP. If the Cavs are going to keep up with Golden State, they need big time Love performances. If Golden State wants to run Cleveland out of the gym, Love needs to be taken out of the game.

Leave all your GOAT arguments and “KD can’t do it on his own” comments elsewhere. Just as none of us expected, this won’t be decided between the MVPs. The rubber match is between which one of these bigs gets the upper hand.


About the Creator

Dan O'Shea

Staff Writer at The Unbalanced. Aspiring trophy husband. Can be found arguing hot takes and hating Spike Lee. Stay positive, test negative.

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