Cleveland Cavaliers (65-31) at Golden State Warriors (79-18)
|Date & Time||Thursday June 4, 2015, 9:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Golden State Warriors -5.5 -- Over/Under: 202.5
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The NBA Finals kicks off with the Golden State Warriors hosting the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1.
The Golden State Warriors have been the benchmark of the league all season, piling up 67 wins, a league MVP award and a trip to the NBA Finals with a chance to win their first championship since the 1974-75 season. Stephen Curry has simply been shooting the ball like we've never seen before, averaging 29.2 points per game and 4.9 threes made per game, but it's the depth of the Warriors that really makes them strong. Klay Thompson has yet to really get going but is still averaging 19.7 points per game while Draymond Green is averaging 14.0 points, 10.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game and the list goes on as everyone from Harrison Barnes to Andrew Bogut have played their part in the Warriors surprisingly easy passage through the ultra-competitive Western Conference.
Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers made all the moves in the offseason to get LeBron James to come home and while things were bumpy to begin with, the Cavs have got it all together to book their ticket to the NBA Finals and contend for that elusive championship. James is averaging a ridiculous 27.6 points, 10.4 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game, but the real strength of his game is that he makes his teammates better. JR Smith is averaging 13.5 points and 3.0 triples per game while Tristan Thompson is averaging 9.4 points and 9.9 rebounds but it's the team's performance as a whole which has been their strength, especially on the defensive end where they are just so committed as we saw in the surprisingly easy win over the Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals. The only real concern for the Cavs is that Kyrie Irving is still a long way from being 100 percent healthy which could mean extra minutes for Matthew Dellavedova who is an excellent defender but just a role player on offense.
In ATS trends, the Cavs are 4-1 ATS in their last five games following a win and 5-2 ATS in their last seven road games, while the Warriors are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games playing on 3 or more days rest and 3-8 ATS in their last 11 home games.
Head to head, the Cavs are 1-5 ATS in the last six meetings in Golden State and 3-9 ATS in the last 12 meetings overall.
Everything seems to be going right for the Warriors and a NBA Championship would be a fitting end to a storybook season, but the Cavs have looked near unbeatable since the playoffs started so I have this series going to at least six games. As for Game 1, I expect the Warriors to get the job done at home where they've lost just one game these playoffs, but this one should go right down to the wire.