NBA Finals Game 1 POWER-HOUSE ~ Only $25!
Cleveland vs. Golden State,
06/01/2017 21:00 EDT,
Score: 91 - 113
Point Spread: +7/-105 Cleveland
8* Cleveland (9:05 ET): Much is being made of the fact that favorites have gone 11-1 ATS the last 12 years in the NBA Finals. This includes the Warriors winning and covering each of the last two years at the Cavs' expense. For the third year in a row (an NBA first!), these teams meet again to determine to who is the best the league has to offer. Though Golden State has Kevin Durant for the rubber match and has yet to lose this postseason (12-0 SU), I'm a bit surprised how little respect the defending league champs are getting, not just for Game 1, but the series as a whole. Clearly, regular season numbers (particularly at the defensive end) were not up to LY's standard. But that had a lot to do w/ an 0-9 SU record when LeBron James was out of the lineup. Contrary to conventional wisdom, James and company have "flipped a switch" here in the playoffs, turning in the third best defensive efficiency rating (GSW is 1st) while being #1 (by a wide margin) in offensive efficiency. Cleveland has lost only one time in the playoffs and that came in a game they led by as many as 21 points. Take the points in Game 1.
People like to criticize the East, but Golden State had about as easy a path through the West as one could imagine. First round opponent Portland was hardly an equal. The same could be said for second round opponent Utah. In the Conference Finals, San Antonio led them by 25 pts in Game (here in Oakland!) before Kwahi Leonard got hurt, which changed the entire complexion of that series. There has been one game in each round where the Dubs have had to overcome a deficit of at least nine points. So while there have been some impressive performances along the way, it hasn't been flawless. Note the Cavs have enjoyed a double digit lead in 10 consecutive games going back to the close out game of the 1st round. That's pretty impressive considering they are the underdog here.
A key weapon here for the Cavs (besides the obvious answer of LeBron) is the three-point shot. Golden State is thought of as "three-point shooting team," but in the playoffs Cleveland has been better. In fact, the Cavs are connecting at a historical pace. They are averaging a stunning 14.6 three pointers made per game, which if it holds, would be a playoff record. They're shooting at a 43.5% clip and that's including a 4 of 12 mark from Richard Jefferson & James Jones, who don't figure to shoot much in these finals. Something not even being considered here is the fact that Golden State HC Steve Kerr is likely to miss Game 1. That HAS to matter some, right? 8* Cleveland