In 2016, the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors in seven games to win the NBA Finals. This year, the same two teams are playing for the championship once again and the Warriors are heavy favorites to win the title. When speaking to reporters about the upcoming series, Kevin Love said that the entire idea that the defending NBA champions are underdogs seems funny to him. He said the Cavaliers are not underdogs because they are the defending champions.

The difference between the 2016 and 2017 NBA Finals

Really, the only huge difference between the NBA Finals in 2016 and 2017 is that the Golden State Warriors added Kevin Durant to their roster, giving them another NBA MVP to try to help them win another NBA title.

Last season, the Warriors took LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to the limit with all-stars like Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson. With Durant added to the mix, Golden State seems intent on building a dynasty like LeBron James built with the Miami Heat.

The rubber match

A rubber match is a term that applies to sports like boxing where two fighters will have battled and each has a win against each other. The rubber match is where the two boxers face off again to see who is best by winning two of the three matches. That is happening this year in the NBA Finals. For the first time in NBA history, two NBA teams are battling for the third year in a row for the championship in the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors.

In 2015, the Warriors won the NBA Finals in six games. It was the first title for Golden State in 40 years and no one on the entire team had ever been to the NBA Finals before that moment. It was a huge story and the Warriors were the underdogs and a feel good NBA story. By beating the Cavaliers and LeBron James, who created a dynasty in Miami, it proved anyone could win.

Two years later, the Golden State Warriors have turned into the same kind of monster that LeBron James built in Miami. They are no longer a feel-good team and are now the dynasty that many NBA fans want to be knocked off. After losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 rematch in seven games, they bought Kevin Durant to bring them a second NBA title in three seasons.

The 2017 NBA Finals

Heading into the 2017 NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors are the favorites to win the rubber match against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The two teams proved dominant in the playoffs, with the Warriors sweeping all three rounds in the West while the Cavaliers went 12-1, losing once in a game to the Boston Celtics. While LeBron James said that the Warriors were the best team in the NBA for three years running, Cleveland beat them last year and the odds might have them fired up to do it again. The NBA Finals start on Thursday, June 1.