It sure looks like the 2017 NBA Finals are already over with the Golden State Warriors beating the Cleveland Cavaliers by a combined 41 points in the first two games of the series. The Cavs are hanging their hopes on the fact that they lost the first two games last year in Oakland by a combined 48 points but rallied to win the series. Then again, that Warriors team didn’t have Kevin Durant, who is the early NBA Finals MVP leader. Guarding Durant might be wearing LeBron James down. In the first halves of the first two games, James was a combined 13-for-20 shooting for 37 points and minus-2. In the second halves of the games, LeBron is 8-for-18 for 20 points and is minus-31. The Cavs have to get Kyrie Irving going. He’s shooting 40 percent in the series with nearly as many turnovers (seven) as assists (nine). Irving is also a liability on the defensive end. In addition, J.R. Smith has been invisible with three total points. Coach Ty Lue says Smith will stay in the starting lineup for Game 3.
Washington Nationals At Los Angeles Dodgers
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered the major leagues in 2008 and has been the best pitcher in baseball since. He’s has won three Cy Young Awards and is a top candidate again in 2017 with a 7-2 record, 2.28 ERA and 92 strikeouts. Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg entered the majors in 2010 and has been one of the best pitchers in the league since. He’s a Cy Young candidate as well with a 7-1 record, 2.91 ERA and 81 strikeouts. Amazingly, Kershaw and Strasburg have never started against one another. That all changes on Wednesday afternoon as Washington closes out a big series in Los Angeles. The two were set to meet last June, but Strasburg had to be scratched with an injury.
Deep Dive On 2017 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs haven’t made the playoffs since 2007, but they are a team with an arrow pointing up after improving from 6-10 in quarterback Jameis Winston’s rookie year to 9-7 last year. It was also the first year for head coach Dirk Koetter, who was promoted following 2015 from offensive coordinator because of his solid work with Winston. Bucs GM Jason Licht’s clear offseason priority was to get Winston as many weapons as possible and he did, signing Redskins big-play free-agent receiver DeSean Jackson and drafting Alabama tight end O.J. Howard in the first round. Winston is a fabulous talent but still turns the ball over too much with 18 picks and 10 fumbles in 2016. Oddsmakers give Tampa Bay a win total of 8 for 2017. Is that too low?