Another enthralling NBA season is about to come to a fitting end, as the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers continue to trade blows in the Finals. Let's recap the 2014/15 campaign as a whole.
Before we reflect on the standout moments from the regular season and playoffs, we need to go back in time and run over some of the early NBA odds on the futures list for the championship winner. Let's see how accurate Vegas really was.
The Pre-Season Favorites
Fittingly, the Cavaliers were pegged by many as the team to beat this season, and here they are.
Sure, it all didn't exactly go as planned for Cleveland. They suffered through some hugely impactful injuries to two of their three best players, as Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving weren't able to hold up and stay healthy. Anderson Varejao was also lost for the season, and LeBron James had to battle through numerous bumps and bruises. However, King James has carried the Cavaliers on his back, and they're only two games away from winning it all. Vegas had them at right around +250 to win the title before the season began.
The defending champion San Antonio Spurs were second highest on the list at +400, while the Oklahoma City Thunder (+550), Chicago Bulls (+550), and Los Angeles Clippers (+1000) found themselves rounding out the top five. The Houston Rockets (+2000) and Dallas Mavericks (+2000) were also listed ahead of the eventual Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors, who were listed at +2500 to finish as the last ones standing. If you put your faith in Golden State before the season started or early on, you were certainly handsomely rewarded.
Must Check: NBA Prop Betting Directory
Unfortunately, a host of injuries to star players put a damper on what was otherwise a very entertaining season. We saw the likes of Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant both suffer season-ending injuries pretty early on, and the likes of Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook and Paul George all missed extended time too. Don't forget about guys like Chris Bosh, Jabari Parker and Steve Nash (now retired) either.
Despite those injuries. we still saw a lot of All-Star quality talent showcase their stuff throughout the season. It was the Warriors and Atlanta Hawks, however, that began to pull away to establish themselves as the best teams in their respective conferences. The Warriors were incredible under first-year coach Steve Kerr and ran away with the top seed, with MVP Stephen Curry leading the way. As for the Hawks, they were deemed "the Spurs of the Eat" by some pundits, a fitting nickname for a team that played excellent team basketball. There was no one that really stood out above the rest for the Hawks, if that sounds familiar (hint: the defending champs).
Heading into the playoffs, however, with LeBron and the Cavs figuring things out and a number of other teams all showing potential to stake their claim to the crown, there were so many interesting possibilities and storylines. And we haven't been disappointed.
The Here and Now
We're down to the final two teams, and boy what a series it's been so far. LeBron has been out-of-this-world good and has the Cavaliers within striking distance of scoring the "upset"; it's Golden State, and Cleveland, that was installed as the favorite before this grand edition of the NBA Finals begun.
A lot of adjustments have been made through the first four games of the series, and we're all square at 2-2. It's now a best of three to decide who wins it all, with the Warriors now having the advantage after re-gaining home court with a Game 4 road victory.
What's been your favorite part of the 2014/15 season?
As always, thanks for taking the ride along with us at Sportsbook Review. Make sure to get in on the NBA betting action while you still can, and good luck with all of your NBA picks over these last few games!