the Beacon Journal editorial board

At the FiveThirtyEight website, where Nate Silver and colleagues apply analytics to just about everything, the Cleveland Cavaliers are looking at a 10 percent chance of winning the NBA Finals. Remember, Donald Trump stood in a similar position as the presidential election approached.

That’s not to say the Cavaliers are like the current occupant of the White House. Yet, as the Finals open this evening in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Cavaliers faithful surely are looking to counter the persistent gushing about the Golden State Warriors. FiveThirtyEight has the Western Conference champs poised to become the best team ever, ahead of the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls — with you know who, Michael Jordan.

So, let’s recall the recent past, the Cavaliers and Warriors the first teams ever to face off in the Finals in three consecutive years. That first encounter? The Cavaliers fell short in six games — playing without Kevin Love, then losing Kyrie Irving along the way.

A year ago? The Cavaliers became the first to overcome a three-games-to-one deficit to win the Finals, two of the three closing wins coming on the road. You may recall that Cleveland, Akron and the rest of Northeast Ohio claimed its first professional sports championship in 52 years, 2 million or so attending the party.

Might we add that the Cavaliers have won four of the last five games the teams have played?

Everyone gets how good the Warriors are, LeBron James referring to the “juggernaut out west.” No doubt the Warriors want to make amends, an organization immensely pleased with itself having to carry the burden, or embarrassment, of the only team to let such a lead slip in the Finals. They responded by getting better, adding another all-star and most valuable player, Kevin Durant.

They have their own Fab Four, Durant joining Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. They are unbeaten in the playoffs with a best-ever winning margin per game. They have won 27 of their last 28 games. Add to their motivation the presence of Mike Brown, twice dismissed by the Cavaliers, now subbing on the bench for Steve Kerr, the ailing head coach of the Warriors.

Why, then, such anticipation if the result is set? Are so many drawn to seeing the Warriors in all their glory? Perhaps a few are intrigued by the culture clash, the old, bruised economy of the Rust Belt versus the new, gleaming powerhouse in Silicon Valley.

The gap between the teams mirrored by the differences in their median property values?

It may be the interest goes to what those around here know. The Cavaliers are better, too, Kyrie Irving more experienced, Kevin Love more comfortable, the remaining cast around LeBron James more equipped to take fuller advantage of playing with the best player on the planet. So, yes, the Cavaliers will be there for the tip-off.

Experience teaches that it helps to play the games.