Warriors Win Western Conference - HTML TITLE TAG

Warriors Win Western Conference

Posted: May 23, 2017 4:07 PM Updated:

The Warriors and Cavs are on a collision course. We've seen it coming since last July, and 321 days later, nothing has knocked either team off the inevitable path. 

Dubs-Cavs III is setting up to be spectacular — both teams are highly likely to enter the Finals undefeated in the postseason and clicking on both ends of the court. 

Currently, if you ask the fine people in Las Vegas, Golden State is a strong favorite to win the title, but how could that be the case with the way Cleveland, the defending champion, is playing? 

We know the Warriors have Durant now, but what else has changed that has bookmakers thinking that Golden State is a big favorite?

There, of course, have been plenty of changes in Oakland outside of the ever-important Durant acquisition, but there's a big one that could pay huge dividends in the NBA Finals, and it's not being discussed in that manner. 

In short: Javale McGee is a game-changer. 

Yes, that Javale McGee. 

Saturday night, in the Warriors' 120-108 Western Conference Finals Game 3 win over the Spurs, McGee showed how influential he can be for Golden State. 

Going into Saturday's game, McGee was a spark-plug sub — a player that can give the Warriors 10 minutes a game, most of them solid — but with starting center Zaza Pachulia out with a heel injury, McGee was pressed into starting duty. 

He responded with a huge first half, scoring 11 points in the first quarter and 16 in the first 24 minutes. 

McGee's first half form didn't last — he finished the game with those 16 points — but that shouldn't take away from how impressive it was. 

McGee had a net rating of 27.5 in the first half Saturday by playing effective defense (though LaMarcus Aldridge did have some success against him) and being a targeted man (!!!) on offense. 

The Warriors love having McGee on the court — they turn into Lob City North — and all season, the Shaqtin' A Fool legend has rewarded his teammates' confidence in him with effective, reliable play. 

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