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- Former eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao is rooting for the Golden State Warriors in the 2015 NBA Finals.
Former eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao is rooting for the Golden State Warriors in the 2015 NBA Finals.
Manny Pacquiao is rooting for the Golden State Warriors in the 2015 NBA Finals.
This was what the former eight-division world champion told PhilBoxing.com’s Eddie Alinea (via ABS-CBN) on June 2:
“For the simple reason that Golden State represents an area where the most number of Filipinos in America live,” Pacquiao told Alinea. “I want the Warriors to win the series and crown themselves NBA champions.”
Pacquiao also told PhilBoxing.com the Warriors are very similar to his fellow Filipinos in terms of hospitality, especially point guard and 2014-15 NBA MVP Stephen Curry. He also praised Curry’s humility in spite of his many accolades.
Manny Pacquiao’s Warriors Visit pacman ballislife https://t.co/lNVoSLrxq1— ivan (@ivan_escatel) June 3, 2015
Pacquiao, who plays for and coaches the Philippine Basketball Association’s Kia team, told Alinea that Curry visited him while training for the Floyd Mayweather, Jr. fight on /4/2. Curry even posed for pictures with his sons Jimuel and Michael.
“I appreciate that gesture,” Pacquiao told PhilBoxing.com.
Pacquiao has long been known to be a fan of Golden State. According to the ABS-CBN update, he worked out at the Warriors’ training facility in Aug. 2014. His two sons watched a live Warriors game at Oracle Arena in Oakland while he was training for Mayweather.
The Warriors’ Oracle Arena will host its first-ever NBA Finals game on Thursday, June 4. The last time Golden State made it to the Finals was in 1975, when the team was still playing at the old Cow Palace, per The San Jose Mercury News‘ Jimmy Durkin.
The Warriors couldn’t play at their regular venue, the Oakland Coliseum Arena, for the 1975 NBA Finals because it was booked for an ice show, per Durkin.
Thank you @StephenCurry30 for meeting my sons Jimuel and Michael tonight at the game. God Bless! pic.twitter.com/M9f1UeqKzK— Manny Pacquiao (@MannyPacquiao) April 1, 2015
Cavaliers forward J.R. Smith told The San Jose Mercury News he expects the Warriors fans to come out in full force on Thursday:
“Oh, without a doubt. The old Warriors teams with Baron Davis and those guys that I played against with (the) Denver (Nuggets), it was so loud and crazy then. Then playing here earlier this year right after the trade, it was ridiculous. I see why those guys play so well here.”
His teammate and four-time NBA MVP LeBron James told Durkin he expects the same thing, but it will not deter Cleveland from its quest of winning its first NBA title:
“It’s basketball and it’s 10 guys on the court, it’s three referees and it’s 20,000-plus fans. It doesn’t change. The fans here are amazing. They’ve been amazing all year and for the past few years.
“But for me, I don’t put too much pressure on it. I’ve been in so many loud arenas. This is going to be one of them…Sometimes you’ve got to have some hand signals, depending on how loud they get. But for the most part, you just trust what you’ve been able to do.”
Nonetheless, ESPN Stats & Information’s Vince Masi stresses there are several similarities between the Warriors and the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are competing against the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final.
Despite 5 Finals appearances, @KingJames has never faced a foe as strong as the Warriors. http://t.co/VjjMbXj7F5 pic.twitter.com/bwntByxwUW— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 3, 2015
Both teams are known for their high-octane offense: Masis says the two squads move “crisply and effectively and finishes it is on offense with a high degree of efficiency.”
They also are loaded with stars: The Warriors have Curry and Klay Thompson while the Lightning have Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat. Curry was the NBA’s MVP while Johnson has a strong chance of winning the Conn Smythe trophy as the NHL’s playoff MVP, per ESPN.
Both the Warriors and Lightning are not just about offense. They have two key defensive players in Draymond Green and Ben Bishop, respectively.
Green earned NBA All-Defensive First Team honors in 2015 and will be looked upon to try to stymie James.
How the Golden State Warriors are like the Tampa Bay Lightning http://t.co/hvXWtcuIcT— Greg Newman (@GregNewmanESPN) June 4, 2015
For his part, the 6’7″ Bishop is the tallest goaltender in the NHL. He held the New York Rangers scoreless in Games 5 and 7 of the 2015 Eastern Conference Final, per Masi.
The two teams also feature two key players who were drafted No. 1 overall at some point in time. The Warriors have center Andrew Bogut, whom the Milwaukee Bucks selected first overall in the 2005 NBA draft. On the other hand, the Lightning drafted Stamkos, their team captain, first overall back in 2008, per ESPN.
Bogut will be counted on to go up against Timofey Mozgov of the Cavaliers while Stamkos, whose 1.22 goal average against the Blackhawks ranks the highest of any player who has played in at least five games against them since the league’s expansion era in 1967-68, per Masi.
Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers will have a 9 p.m. ET tip-off at Oracle Arena on June 4.
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