NBA Picks: Defense Will Dictate Game 1 Between Cavaliers & Warriors

Charles Stark

Thursday, June 2, 2016 11:25 AM UTC

Thursday, Jun. 2, 2016 11:25 AM UTC

It makes sense that GS is the favorite considering they have the home-court advantage but Cleveland has been playing at a high level. Can the Cavaliers hang with the Warriors in this first game?

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors
NBA odds makers have come out with this game with Golden State a -6 favorite like at Bookmaker -105. This has all the makings of a fantastic matchup and for my NBA pick I'm going to back Golden State minus the points to handle Lebron and company in game one.


Cleveland Cavaliers
On the season Cleveland averaged 104.7 points per game while ranking third in the league in both two and three point shooting percentage. It was easy to see in that series against Toronto how they have really ramped up their offense by getting out and pushing tempo while shooting a lot of threes. That is not where my issue lies with Cleveland in this series because it is pretty apparent they can be very dangerous on offense. My main issue with them is on the defensive side where they have been mediocre most of the season.

Although they did play better in their last two games against Toronto I believe that was more because of the matchups along with Toronto's lackluster play and not the Cavs defensive scheme. Just looking at games three and four in that series when Cleveland was on the road they allowed Toronto to shoot 46% and 54% respectively from the floor. That was from a team not even in the same universe as Golden State on the offensive side of the ball. As well, what Cleveland likes to do is get up a lot of shots, especially from distance, but I believe this will play more into the hands of Golden State who is simply better on both sides of the ball.

Golden State Warriors
On the season Golden State ranked first in the NBA in every important offensive category and second in opponent shooting percentage. Looking back at the OKC series it is hard not to be impressed with Golden State because the Thunder are an extremely good team and were playing at an extremely high level. The only thing I can foresee hurting them in this game is that their turnaround is pretty quick just getting a couple days off before having to take on the Cavaliers. That being said Golden State brings something to the table that the Cavaliers don't and that is defense.

On the season Golden State ranks second in opponent effective field-goal percentage, two point shooting percentage and overall shooting percentage as well as fourth in opponent three point shooting percentage and opponent shooting efficiency. They do allow opponents to get up quite a few shots from distance which could be detrimental against a Cavaliers team if they get hot but overall this is a Warriors team that puts a premium on playing good defense first. Both teams can score but the fact that Golden State plays a lot better on that side of the ball will ultimately have them winning the title two years in a row. They win this game by double digits. Still not convinced? Read our detailed breakdown and tutorial on how to bet the NBA finals.

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Free NBA Pick: Golden State -6 (-105)
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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