The Golden State Warriors don’t think their record 73-win season will feel complete unless they win the NBA title and the Cleveland Cavaliers are once again standing in their way. The Warriors attempt to knock off Cleveland in the NBA Finals for the second straight campaign when the best-of-seven series gets underway Thursday in Oakland, Calif.
Two-time MVP Stephen Curry is no longer bothered by the knee injury that interrupted his playoff experience and is purely focused on making sure the Warriors win the rematch of the series decided in six games last season. “I know we’re a better team than we were last year, just off experience and what we’ve been through in this postseason,” Curry told reporters on Wednesday. “(We’re) better equipped to kind of handle the scene of The Finals and all that’s kind of thrown at you when you get here.” Cleveland forward LeBron James says his team is better positioned to win the rematch and he was definitely testy when told the Warriors are heavy favorites. “Not my concern,” James told reporters. “I don’t get involved in all of that — underdog, overdog, whatever the case may be. It’s stupidity.”
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ABC
LINE HISTORY: The Warriors opened as 5.5-point home favorites over the Cavs for Game 1 and have yet to move off that number. The total has also yet to move of its opening number of 210. Check out the complete line history here.
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “This series will be won by whichever team shoots better from three-point range. It’s a volatile statistic, but these are the two best teams in the league from behind the arc.” – Covers Expert Power Sports.
SERIES PRICE (Per Pinnacle):
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS: James is playing in his seventh NBA Finals and has only emerged as a winner twice — both times with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh as teammates on the Miami Heat. Cleveland was without power forward Kevin Love (shoulder) for all of last season’s championship series, lost point guard Kyrie Irving (kneecap) in the opener and has Tryonn Lue as head coach after the midseason firing of David Blatt. “It’s a big thing, and I just think that we have a different team than we had last year,” Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said at his Wednesday press conference. “Organization-wise, it’s the same two teams, but playing-wise and players-wise, we’re a different team. Kevin and Kyrie are both healthy, the addition of (backup forward) Channing Frye, we’re a completely different team than we were last year.”
ABOUT THE WARRIORS: Curry scored 36 points in Game 7 as Golden State finished off its comeback from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference finals and he and shooting guard Klay Thompson combined for 62 3-point baskets in the series – 32 by Curry; 30 by Thompson. Coach Steve Kerr expects Curry’s competitive nature to be in high form as former NBA players and James – who questioned how valuable Curry is after the MVP tally – continue to hurl slights in his direction. “He doesn’t have to say anything,” Kerr said at his Wednesday press conference. “He does his talking through his play, basically, but he definitely is motivated by things that people say about him or things that he reads or anything like that. The guy is as gifted and skilled as he is, and I think one of his greatest attributes is his competitive fire.”
* Warriors are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 home games.
* Cavaliers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven versus Pacific Division opponents.
* Cavaliers are 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings.
* Under is 4-1-1 in the last six meetings in Golden State.
* Under is 4-0 in Warriors last 4 versus Eastern Conference opponents.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Early on the public is giving the slight edge to Golden State, with 54 percent of wagers on the defending champs. When it comes to the total, 62 percent of wagers are on the over.
MVP Odds (Per Sports Interaction):
Tagged with: feature