It’s been a long wait, since the end of the Conference Finals and, really, since whenever we all knew for sure that the Warriors and the Cavaliers would meet in the NBA Finals for the third straight season.
For a lot of us, that was as soon as last year’s Finals ended and LeBron James made good on his promise to the city of Cleveland. For the rest, it was when Golden State announced it had landed Kevin Durant in free agency. In either case, we’ve all waited patiently all season; now this is our reward.
Game 1 tips off from Oakland tomorrow, June 1.
This has never happened before, by the way, the same two teams in the NBA Finals for three straight seasons, not even when there were just eight teams in the league.
As expected, Vegas had made Golden State a decided favorite, seven points at home for Games 1 and 2 and two point ‘dogs in Cleveland for at least Games 3 and 4.
I, for one, am having a tough time handicapping the sides. Most all of the chatter I hear, from minds both credible and not, is all about Golden State and why shouldn’t it be? The Warriors are the first team in NBA history to sweep 12 straight playoff games to get to the NBA Finals and the third team ever to enter the Finals without a playoff loss.
But most people discounted the Cavaliers last season and making LeBron such a big underdog just doesn’t sit well with me. It’s funny that, with the exception of the 2007 Finals, he’s the biggest underdog he’s been in his career despite having the best team he’s ever had. Put this Cleveland team against any LeBron James team in his career and I believe this one would win.
I don’t do much with the chatter I hear, anyway and, ultimately, I believe Kevin Durant can come about as close to Kawhi Leonard to negating LeBron, which is all he has to do and probably all he’ll try. That’s the great thing about Durant, especially as a Warrior; he will never try to do to much. And, as sickening as it is, the Warriors don’t need his scoring. That is, unless Stephen Curry struggles against Kyrie Irving, a little like he did last year.
The angle that has presented itself for Game 1 is on the total, which is listed at 226.
Last year, none of the seven games went over 226. Last year, none of the seven games even went over 216. Both teams have new players but the core guys and, more importantly, core philosophies are fairly unchanged from a year ago. Vegas expects a big uptick in scoring from last season but that could just be what it has to do in the face of all the public action it expects to take. In a series like this, when in doubt, just fade the public. In this case, that’s the over.
Free Pick: Under 226 (-110)