Oddsmakers have the Warriors favored to dethrone Cleveland as the Cavaliers did to them a year ago, but the snub gives the Cavs something else to prove. If Golden State can cap off a title and win its second in three years, we're talking about a legacy team that will be listed among the best groups ever.
The scene shifts to Cleveland for Games 3 and 4 on June 7 and June 9.
"It looks like the "rubber match" storyline is driving interest". Third time's the charm. ― Reuters picOAKLAND, May 31 ― Cleveland superstar LeBron James, as versatile and unsafe as any NBA player, is a focus of the Golden State Warriors as they prepare for tomorrow's start of the NBA Finals. Cleveland nearly certainly needs the Kevin Love of the last round to have a chance at the upset.
Curry wants to take back the championship that got away, and help KD and so many other veterans without a title earn their ring. Cleveland's one blemish, a lone loss to Boston, was supposedly because LeBron James was under the weather. The Cavaliers face the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday in Oa. They are 12-0 in the playoffs. That's right. Since March 14.
Luckily for the Cavs, their stars seem to be playing their best at just the right time.
Last year, when James defended Green, the Cavs put Love and Thompson on Barnes and Iguodala, Golden State's two least threatening shooters.
According to the Game 1 betting odds at OddsShark, Cleveland is a seven-point road underdog.
Plus, drumroll please, they have LeBron James.
Thompson has been stellar on the defensive end even when his shot has been off and will likely be counted on at times to slow down Irving, who scored 98 points in the final three games previous year, including the series-clinching 3-pointer.
Yes, we know, Golden State has Stephen Curry.
Hold on a minute, however. This is the same man who had a triple double without having 10 points previously this year (assists, rebounds, steals). There have been 17 five-game series (24.4%), 25 six-gamers (35.7%) and 20 series that went to Game 7 (28.6%). The Warriors are 5-13 favorites at Vegas' Westgate Sports Book.
NO WORRY FROM CURRY: After a knee injury in the playoffs and a quick turnaround following the conference finals, Curry wasn't in top shape last June. Durant is another ridiculous weapon. "We're trying to take what they took from us past year". Golden State is the better team.
Add to that mix veterans such as Deron Williams, Channing Frye, Kyle Korver and J.R. Smith and the Cavs are one of the few teams in the league that have the firepower to stay with the Warriors. And he keeps on proving it.
James bought the house in 2015, not long after his production company signed a $15 million developmental deal with Warner Bros., an agreement that has him spending more time in Southern California. He's shooting 56.5 percent from the field compared to 54.8. "With them adding Durant and the way they're playing, the way we're playing, it can be even higher". The pressure was on James, he had everything he needed to knock off the defending champs and end Cleveland's 52-year championship drought. You don't overcome a 3-1 deficit in the National Basketball Association playoffs. There simply is too much firepower.
However, it's tough to find a fit for the Cavs with each team's regular starting lineup on the floor. Outscoring opponents by an average of 16.3 points per game, Golden State scored 118.3 points per contest, despite facing the league's two best defensive teams in their last two series.
This year, I'm going with the Cavaliers in six.