The Rockets were unable to solve the Warriors in the West Conference finals and they could not win a game in Oracle Arena. Can the Cavs find a way to cash on the NBA betting lines in Game 1?
The Cleveland Cavaliers Can Win Because…
They have shown a level of adaptability which a lot of experts were unsure they had. The Cavaliers got to this point without Kevin Love in the past two series, and they didn’t have a healthy Kyrie Irving for most of the past two series. Irving missed two of the four games in the Eastern Conference finals against the Atlanta Hawks. It didn’t matter. Iman Shumpert was not 100 percent during the Chicago series in particular. He powered through and played quality defense on the perimeter against the Bulls and the Hawks. This team found solutions, with Matthew Dellavedova and J.R. Smith coming up big in different moments. David Blatt has coached this team really well at the defensive end of the court. Cleveland has grown by leaps and bounds as a defensive team, showing that it is a lot more than just a freewheeling, high-flying offense led by LeBron and Kyrie, which was the theme of the regular season.
This team is tougher. It plays better defense. It is now much more a team that can take a week-long break and still thrive because it can stop Golden State. There’s likely to be a lot of rust on both sides in a Game 1 situation, so the team that can play better defense will win.
You also have to survey this situation and say that Golden State guard Klay Thompson has not been shooting well for most of these playoffs. If he doesn’t find the touch and other players for the Warriors aren’t able to make up the difference, Golden State will be in huge trouble against LeBron, the one player who – more than anyone else on the court – will know how to handle the pressure and the spotlight that go along with the NBA Finals. Golden State doesn’t have one player with previous NBA Finals experience. That’s huge in Game 1.
The Golden State Warriors Can Win Because…
They are at home, where a very loud and vocal crowd will pull them through the nerves they are likely to feel. Golden State knows that Cleveland is an improved defensive team, but the Warriors are going to set the standard on defense here. They’ve been tested by a much tougher Western Conference in the regular season and the playoffs, and that’s going to pay dividends for them. The Warriors are able to extend to the perimeter and guard shooters. They’re not going to let J.R. Smith get the touches he wants. They’re going to contain the Cavaliers’ role players and force LeBron James to do all the scoring himself. Golden State’s ability to throw multiple defenders at LeBron – probably Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green – should bother King James and turn Game 1 in the Warriors’ favor.
The Warriors are at home and while they’re in a new situation, they’re clearly better than Cleveland, which does not have the speed or versatility of Golden State. As long as the Warriors aren’t sloppy with the basketball, they’ll cover the NBA odds spread in this spot.
NBA Pick: Golden State -6 at The Greek.