The NBA Finals matchup is finally set, and basketball fans will get to see a rematch of last season’s NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. Game 1 of the championship series is on Thursday, and it is scheduled to begin at 9 PM. ET.
Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers came into the finals dealing with injuries. Kevin Love missed the entire series after injuring his shoulder in the first round of the playoffs, while fellow All-Star Kyrie Irvin reinjured his knee in game 1 and missed the rest of the series.
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Even without his fellow All-Stars, LeBron James was able to keep Cleveland in the series and even led the team to a 2-1 series lead at one point. However, the lack of depth eventually caught up to the Cavaliers, who lost the series in six games.
The Golden State Warriors followed up their championship season with the most dominant regular season in NBA history, winning a record 73 games this year. In the playoffs, the Warriors were tested by the Portland Trailblazers in the second round, then the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals.
The Warriors fell behind the Thunder 3-1, and were in danger of becoming the first team to win 70 games and not make the Finals. Despite facing elimination in three straight games, the Warriors showed what they were made of, and fought their way back to win the series.
Klay Thompson was instrumental in the Warriors comeback, going off for 41 points and a playoff record 11 made 3-pointers in game 6. Thompson also helped to take a lot of pressure away from Curry, who struggled at times but eventually regained his shooting touch and led the team to the game 7 win.
After their championship last season, sceptics pointed out the fact that the Warriors played teams that were dealing with injuries during their run. This time around, their critics will have no excuse if they win the championship again because all their opponents have been at full strength.
The Cavaliers and their fans feel they would have won the championship last season if they had their full squad, and now they have a chance to prove it. If they can pull off the win, it will be the first championship in Cleveland since 1964, and it will solidify LeBron James as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
During the regular season, the Warriors defeated the Cavaliers twice, including a 34 point victory in Cleveland. However, those meetings came while David Blatt was Cleveland’s head coach, making this the first meeting between the two teams since Tyronn Lue took over as the head coach.
One thing is for sure, since these are the two best 3-point shooting teams in the league, basketball fans are in for an exciting high-scoring series.
2016 NBA Finals Game 1 Odds
The Warriors are favored to win the series. The money line on Golden State for the series is -185. The money line for Cleveland is +165.
I believe that teams that have too much time off between series tend to be a little rusty than their opponents. After losing home court advantage to the Thunder in game 1 if the WCF, I think the Warriors will try to avoid having that happen again, so I’m picking them to cover the spread and win the game.
Play: Warriors -5.5 @ BetOnline.ag