As far as sportsbooks are concerned, the clash between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors is like that time Superman and Doomsday beat the living tar out of each other in the streets of Metropolis. Well, except maybe the Cavs and the Dubs won’t destroy each other in the process. Maybe. Here are three reasons that each team could win the NBA Finals.
Golden State Warriors
1. Kevin Durant came to Oakland to win a championship, and while he needed the Warriors more than the Warriors needed him, for all intents and purposes the result would be the same. KD averaged 25.1 points, 4.8 assists and 8.3 rebounds per game in the regular season and there never was the battle of egos that many expected – perhaps because Stephen Curry is just that bland. And speaking of the mouthguard-chewing point guard, him and Durant combined for 59.5 points per game in the Western Conference final versus San Antonio.
2. Golden State let go many important reserves to make room for Kevin Durant, but others have stepped in to fill the void, such as JaVale McGee, Zaza Pachulia and David West.
3. Klay Thompson did get lost in the Kevin Durant shuffle; the shooting guard averaged 22.3 points per game in the season and shot 41.4% from the three-point line. Thompson did stumble against the San Antonio, posting 11 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in the series and shooting 36.8% from beyond the arc – and hasn’t shot over 40% in this postseason. However, sportsbooks users should not let that lull them in to a false sense of security. And shooting straight or not, the fact remains that the Warriors have won 27 consecutive games by 16 points or more when Thompson suits up.
1. The Cavs are shooting 50.7% from the field and 43.5% from three-point line – leading the league in both categories. LeBron James, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, and Kyle Korver are all averaging more than four three-point attempts per contest. Love and Channing Frye combined for 5-for-12 in Cleveland’s over the Golden State this season. Both have been shooting over 47% from the distance while combining for 9.7 attempts per game.
2. The Cavaliers’ defense has improved greatly during the postseason. The Cavs have limited opposing teams to 100.7 points per game, 43.9% shooting from the floor and 34.2% from the three-point line.
3. Finally, two words: LeBron ‘freakin’’ James. The King is averaging 26.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 8.6 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.4 blocks per game this postseason. Draymond Green is one of the best defenders in the league, but guarding LeBron is like trying to distract Barney from the midnight beer delivery. Whether or not the King is the GOAT (greatest of all time, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing), the truth he is the best active player in the NBA – and the entire world, for that matter. Unless Pachulia pulls another Kawhi Leonard, the Big LeBronowski can and more often than not will be the difference-maker.