The NBA Finals will start on Thursday night and they will have a familiar look as the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State warriors will face each for the third straight year, something that has never happened in the NBA before. Both teams were the favorites in their conference to reach this point and now comes the seven game heavyweight prize fight to see who is indeed the best. Vegas says the Warriors are favored to eventually hoist up the Larry O'Brien Trophy later this month, but here are a few things to look for in this series.

New faces

This is the seventh consecutive year that LeBron James has appeared in the Finals, but there are some new faces in this rivalry. The biggest newcomer is obviously Kevin Durant for Golden State. Durant joined the Warriors as a free agent this past off-season and will be appearing in his second NBA Finals, he played in finals in 2012 with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Durant could be the difference maker this time around.

Center Zaza Pachulia will make his finals debut for the Warriors. Pachulia has already played a huge role in Golden State's perfect run through the first three rounds of the playoffs as he was the man who San Antonio Spurs All-Star Kawhi Leonard came down on in the Western Conference Finals. Leonard hurt his ankle and was done for the series as were the Spurs.

On the Cleveland side of the ledger sharp shooter Kyle Korver will be there to drain some three pointers and back up point guard Deron Williams will be a key man off the bench.

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NBA Golden State Warriors

Both sides healthy

The best thing about the third meeting between the Cavaliers and Warriors is that both teams come in well rested and healthy, something that couldn't be said about the Cavaliers in 2015. The biggest health concern is actually from the sidelines as Golden State head coach, Steve Kerr, has been battling health issues all throughout the playoffs and it is uncertain if he will be on the sidelines for the Finals.

The regular season

The Cavaliers and the Warriors split the regular season series 1-1, with both teams managing to win in their home arenas. The Warriors had the better record overall through the regular season and thus will have home court advantage in this series, something that didn't matter a whole lot last season as the Warriors lost in Game 7 in Oakland. Both teams were able to rest their star players down the stretch of the regular season.

The prediction

One thing is almost guaranteed, the NBA Finals will be a lot more exciting than the previous rounds of the playoffs. Cleveland and Golden State were almost destined to be here since the beginning of the season and the playoffs have been a boring march to this point, but now NBA fans will get the payoff because this series should be a closely contested classic.

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