2016 NBA Playoffs
Western Conference Finals
#1 Cleveland Cavaliers vs #1 Golden State Warriors
Best of Seven Series Format: 2-2-1-1-1
Odds to win Series Courtesy of 5Dimes Sportsbooks: Warriors -235 / Cavaliers +195
Game #1 – Thursday, June 2, 2016, 9:05 pm Eastern, TV: ABC
Oracle Arena- Oakland, California
Opening Line: Golden State -6 (-105)
Current Line: Golden State -6
Opening Total: 210 1/2
Current Total: 209 1/2
Opening Money Line: Warriors -262 / Cavaliers +212
Current Money Line: Warriors -260 / Cavaliers +210
The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers meet in the NBA Finals for the second straight year. The Warriors beat an injury decimated Cavaliers team last year in six hard fought games. Although Cleveland was without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in that series. Both teams are healthy this year and this is the Finals match-up most people expected.
The Warriors and Cavaliers did have tougher than expected Conference Finals Series though. Cleveland beat the Toronto Raptors in six games including 113-87 in the clincher Friday night in Toronto. It was the first time in eight games between the teams including the regular season that the road team won a game. Golden State was down 3 games to one to the Oklahoma City Thunder but won three straight games to return to the NBA Finals, including 96-88 in the last game Monday.
Golden State won both games during the regular season against Cleveland. The Warriors won in Oakland 89-83 on Christmas Day. Golden State then destroyed Cleveland 132-98 on the road January 18.
Cleveland is coached by Tyronn Lue, who replaced David Blatt midway though the season. The Cavaliers are the first team in NBA history to make the NBA Finals with two different rookie head coaches in two strThe Cavaliers aight seasons. Cleveland went 57-25 and won the Central Division by 12 games over the Indiana Pacers. Cleveland was the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference and breezed into the Conference Finals by sweeping the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks. The Cavaliers are 46-47-3 ATS and the total is 48-48 this season.
Golden State is coached by Steve Kerr. Kerr won the NBA coach of the year award despite missing almost half the season recovering from back surgery. The Warriors set an NBA record for wins in the regular season with a 73-9 record. They won the Pacific Division by 20 games over the Los Angeles Clippers. The Warriors beat the Houston Rockets in five games in the first round. The Warriors then beat the Portland Trail Blazers in five games in the second round. Two time MVP Stephen Curry suffered knee and ankle injuries in the first round against the Rockets and missed six games in the playoffs. He returned for the last two games against the Blazers and has played ever since. Golden State is the defending NBA Champion. Golden State is 56-41-2 ATS and the total is 52-46-1.
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Cleveland is outscoring teams 107-94 during the playoffs. The Cavaliers are shooting 47.5% from the field including 43.4% from three point range. The Cavaliers make 72.5% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 45.1% from the field and 34% from three point range. Cleveland averages 43 rebounds per game and opponents average 37.1 per game. The Cavaliers average 22.9 assists, 11.6 turnovers, 7 steals and 3.6 blocks per game. Opponents average 22.9 assists, 12.4 turnovers, 6.1 steals and 3.9 blocks per game.
LeBron James averages 24.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 7 assists and 2.21 steals per game in the playoffs. James is playing in his sixth straight NBA Finals something that hasn’t been done since the 1960’s era Celtics. Kyrie Irving averages 24.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Kevin Love averages 17.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. J.R. Smith averages 12 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Channing Frye averages 8.6 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. Richard Jefferson, Tristan Thompson, Matthew Dellevadova, and Iman Shumpert will also get minutes in the rotation.
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Golden State is outscoring teams 111-105 in the playoffs. The Warriors are shooting 46.4% from the field and 40.3% from three point range. Golden State makes 73.4% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 41.8% from the field and 34.2% from three point range. The Warriors average 44.6 rebounds per game and opponents average 46.6. Golden State averages 25 assists, 14 turnovers, 8.5 steals and 5.4 blocks per game. Opponents average 20.4 assists, 15.1 turnovers, 8.2 steals and 5.1 blocks per game.
Curry averages 26.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game. He is probable with a knee injury. Klay Thompson averages 26.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game in the playoffs. Draymond Green averages 15.1 points, 9.8 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.6 steals and 2.1 blocks per game. Shaun Livingston, Harrison Barnes, Andre Igoudala, Marreese Speights, Leandro Barbosa, Andrew Bogut and Ian Clark will also get minutes in the rotation. Kevon Looney is out for the season with a hip injury.
Cleveland is 6-1 ATS against Pacific teams, 7-2 in Thursday games, 6-2 after a win on three or more days rest, and after scoring 100 points or more, 5-2 after a double digit win, 7-3 against teams with winning records and overall, and 7-3 in NBA Finals games. The under is 7-3-1 in this series including 4-1-1 in Oakland. The road team is 4-1 ATS in this series recently.
Golden State is 10-1 ATS in Thursday games, 10-2 at home, 4-1 after the opponent scores 100 points or more, 32-12 on two days rest, 34-15-2 against teams with winning road records, 13-6 overall, 2-5 against Central Division teams, and 1-5 against Eastern Conference teams. The Warriors are 4-1 ATS against the Cavaliers overall and 7-3 ATS at home.
The X-Factor in this series might be Kevin Love and his lack of defense. He might not even play much in the fourth quarter of tight games, which is unheard of for an All-Star caliber player like Love. Lebron James has been able to rest more in these playoffs because he is getting help from Irving and Love. Actually, until late in the Toronto series Irving was the leading scorer for the Cavaliers. Cleveland has been playing a Warriors like style in the playoffs. The Cavs made an NBA record 25 threes in one of the games against the Hawks.
As for the Warriors, it took a super human effort from Curry and Thompson in the last three games against OKC. They were making some incredible shots as they always do. However, Green will have to play a lot better against the Cavs then he did against the Thunder. Igoudala won the Finals MVP last year largely in part for his defense on LeBron. I think the Warriors win this series in seven games, but I think the Cavaliers pull off the upset in game one against a tired Warriors team.