2017 NBA Playoffs
#1 Golden State Warriors vs #2 Cleveland Cavaliers
Best of Seven Series Format: 2-2-1-1-1
Series Price: Warriors -260 / Cavaliers +220 (Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes )
Game #1 – Thursday, June 1, 2017, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: ABC
Oracle Arena – Oakland, California
Opening Line: Golden State -5
Current Line: Golden State -7
Opening Total: 226
Current Total: 223
Opening Money Line: Warriors -300 / Cavaliers +250
Current Money Line: Warriors -280 / Cavaliers +240
For the first time ever, two teams are meeting in the NBA Finals for the third straight season. In 2015, the Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games to win their first title since 1975. The Cavaliers were without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in that series. Last year, the Cavaliers came back from a 3-1 series deficit to win their first NBA title and the first title in the four major sports for Cleveland in more than 50 years. Now, the two teams meet in the rubber match. Game One is Thursday night in Oakland. Both teams have turned the first three rounds of the NBA playoffs into a training montage from one of the Rocky movies. The teams have gone a combined 24-1 in the playoffs.
Cleveland is coached by Tyronn Lue. The Cavaliers went 51-31 in the regular season and won the Central Division. Cleveland is the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers beat the #7 seed Indiana Pacers in four games in the first round and the #3 seed Toronto Raptors also in four games in the conference semifinals. The Cavaliers beat the #1 seed Boston Celtics in five games in the Eastern Conference Finals. Cleveland won game five in Boston 135-102 last Thursday. The Cavaliers are 44-47-4 ATS and the total is 56-38-1 this season.
Golden State is coached by Steve Kerr, but he has missed a large part of the playoffs with complications from back surgery several years ago. He could return at some point in the Finals, including possibly game one. Former Cavaliers and Lakers coach Mike Brown has been the interim coach and will continue to coach if Kerr can’t return. The Warriors are the #1 seed in the West and won the Pacific Division with a 67-15 record. The Warriors became the first team to start the playoffs 12-0 by sweeping the #8 Portland Trail Blazers in the first round, the #5 Utah Jazz in the second round and the #2 San Antonio Spurs in the conference finals. Golden State won game four in San Antonio 129-115 May 22. The Warriors are 48-43-3 ATS and the total is 41-53 this season.
Cleveland and Golden State split the regular season series with each winning at home. The Cavaliers won in Cleveland 109-108 on Christmas. Golden State won 126-91 in Oakland on January 16.
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Cleveland is outscoring teams 117-103 this season. The Cavaliers are shooting 50.7% from the field including 43.5% from three point range. The Cavaliers make 77.4% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 45% from the field and 35.3% from three point range. Cleveland averages 41.6 rebounds per game and opponents average 38.1 per game. The Cavaliers average 22.2 assists, 12.9 turnovers, 7.5 steals and 5.1 blocks per game. Opponents average 23.7 steals, 13.1 turnovers, 7.4 steals, and 3.5 blocks per game.
LeBron James averages 32.5 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.4 blocks per game. James is arguably playing the best basketball of his legendary career. Kyrie Irving averages 24.5 points, 2.4 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Kevin Love averages 17.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. He missed around 20 games with a knee injury and several games down the stretch for rest. Tristan Thompson averages 9.2 points and 9.3 rebounds. Kyle Korver, Channing Frye, J.R. Smith, Richard Jefferson, Iman Shumpert, Deron Williams, and Derrick Williams will also get minutes in the rotation. Edy Tavares is out with a hand injury.
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Golden State is outscoring teams 118-102 in the playoffs. The Warriors are shooting 50.2% from the field and 38.9% from three point range. Golden State makes 81.3% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 41.6% from the field and 32% from three point range. The Warriors average 45.8 rebounds per game and opponents average 43.1. Golden State averages 27.8 assists, 13.8 turnovers, 9.2 steals and 6.8 blocks per game. Opponents average 19.5 assists, 14.2 turnovers, 8.8 steals and 3.9 blocks per game.
Stephen Curry averages 28.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Kevin Durant averages 25.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.2 blocks per game. Klay Thompson averages 14.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steals per game in the playoffs. Draymond Green averages 13.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 1.9 steals and 2.1 blocks per game. Ian Clark, JaVale McGee, Andre Igoudala, Zaza Pachulia, Patrick McCaw, David West, and Shaun Livingston will also get time in the rotation. McCaw is probable with an ankle injury and Pachulia is probable with a heel injury. Kevon Looney is out indefinitely with a hip injury.
Cleveland is 7-0-1 ATS in road games and against teams with winning home records, 8-1-1 after a straight up win, 7-1 after allowing 100 points or more, 5-1-1 after a cover, 4-1 in NBA Finals games, 4-1-1 after a double digit win, 8-2-1 overall and after scoring 100 points or more, 6-2-1 against teams with winning records, 20-8 on three or more days rest, 1-3-1 after scoring 125 points or more, 1-4 against Pacific Division teams, and 0-4-1 against Western Conference teams. The Cavaliers are 4-1 ATS in the last five games in this series.
Golden State is 5-1 ATS against teams with winning records, 12-3-1 after allowing 100 points or more, 4-1 after a double digit win, 4-1 against Central Division teams, 20-6-1 overall, 19-6-1 after a straight up win, and after scoring 100 points or more, 13-5-1 after a cover, 17-8 in Thursday games, 1-3-1 after scoring 125 points or more, 1-4 in NBA Finals games, on three or more days rest and against teams with winning road records. The under is 4-1-1 ATS in this series recently and 8-1-2 in Oakland between the teams.
This series has been anticipated since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Warriors on the Fourth of July last year. This series has seven all-stars between the teams, the most since the 1982 Finals. LeBron is playing at another level, but the Warriors are a much better defensive team. I think that will be the difference in a close series. I like the Warriors in seven games and to win a high scoring game one.