Finally! At 9:00 p.m. tonight when the Warriors take on the Thunder, the NBA Finals will finally be back. Here are three keys you must know about this matchup of pro basketball’s two best teams:
1. The Thunder may have a different look defensively. Thunder coach Billy Donovan had success against the Spurs playing the so-called “Stache Brothers”—Steven Adams and Enes Kanter—together. Going big again could exacerbate the Warriors’ one weakness—allowing opponents too many offensive rebounds—and that’s exactly the kind of strategic change-up we’ve come to expect in the NBA Finals.
2. Andre Iguodala is good at covering Kevin Durant. Durant ranked fourth in the NBA with a 56% effective field goal percentage. When guarded by Iguodala? 46%. Now, obviously this is the NBA Finals, so you can throw out the stats to some extent, but still: Iggy’s defense will be key.
3. Bogut’s injury could factor. Warriors center Andrew Bogut is listed as “questionable” for Game 1, meaning backup Festus Ezeli may figure prominently, particularly given the Warriors’ weakness on the defensive glass. If Bogut can play, he will—this is the NBA Finals, no reason to rest.
These keys will determine whether the Warriors or Thunder win the series and all that goes with it: the NBA Finals trophy, the right to call yourselves the best team in the NBA, a trip to the White House and a fun, perfunctory exhibition series against the Cleveland Cavaliers.