A long drought will end in the 2015 NBA Finals. Cleveland has never won an NBA title, while Golden State hasn't won a championship since 1975. Here's an early look at the Cavs-Warriors NBA odds.
Rookie Coaches Face Off
Both the Cavaliers and Warriors were heavy favorites to win the Eastern and Western Conference, respectively, in these playoffs despite each having first-year coaches. The Cavaliers, under David Blatt, have lost just two games thus far despite losing power forward Kevin Love to a season-ending injury in Game 4 of the first-round sweep against Boston. Might the fact the Cavs have made the Finals without Love and the emergence of Tristan Thompson mean that Love could decide to sign elsewhere next season? He is a West Coast guy so the Lakers and Trail Blazers are possibilities, the later especially if LaMarcus Aldridge leaves.
Golden State had one of the greatest regular seasons in league history under rookie coach Steve Kerr, who won five NBA titles as a player. The Warriors won 67 games and led the league by far in point differential at plus-10.1, one of the best marks ever. They only lost two home games. In the playoffs, the Warriors have just three losses.
It's the first time rookie head coaches have faced off in the Finals.
I wrote earlier this week about NBA Finals MVP odds so I won't touch on that again but will update it periodically during the series. Here's something I only learned today. Of course we all knew that LeBron James was born and grew up in Akron, Ohio. I had no idea that Warriors star and NBA MVP and Finals MVP favorite Stephen Curry also was born in Akron. Seven months after his father, Dell Curry, had been traded by the Utah Jazz to the Cleveland Cavaliers before his second season, Wardell Stephen Curry was born in an Akron hospital on March 14, 1988. Huh. Who would have thought Akron would be the center of the basketball universe?
The NBA considered moving the start of the Finals up to June 2 if both conference finals were sweeps but decided not to because it would have meant too many adjustments for media, hotels, etc. So the Finals will start June 4 in Oakland (all games on ABC). That means at least a week off for both teams and they probably are happy about that.
James is a bit banged up but the more rest the better for Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, who has been limping around since early in the second-round series vs. Chicago. He missed Games 2-3 vs. Atlanta. No question Irving will play in Game 1 but an aggravation of that knee injury could swing the series.
Curry wore a protective sleeve on his arm in Golden State's clinching Game 5 win over Houston on Wednesday night after Curry took a hard fall in Game 4. Curry was lucky he didn't suffer a concussion on the play as he also hit his head. Speaking of a concussion, Curry's "Splash Brother" backcourt partner Klay Thompson apparently is dealing with one. He was injured after he faked a shot and Trevor Ariza knocked him to the floor with a knee to the head in the fourth quarter of Game 5. Thompson received stitches in his right ear and passed a concussion test during the game, but he didn't return because the Warriors had the game in hand. However, Thompson did suffer concussion-like symptoms after the game. Thompson said he was dizzy right after and his dad, former NBA player Mychal Thompson, said Klay threw up. So it's a good thing the Warriors have a week.
On Jan. 9 in Oakland, the Warriors beat the Cavaliers 112-94 as 13-point favorites on NBA odds. Thompson had 24 points and Curry had 23 points and 10 assists. Draymond Green added 10 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. It was a close game entering the fourth. LeBron missed the game. J.R. Smith scored 27 points, Irving had 23 and Love added 17 points and 14 rebounds.
On Feb. 26 in Cleveland, the Cavs were 3-point favorites and won 110-99. LeBron dominated with 42 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and three steals, while Irving had 24 points and Timofey Mozgov 10 points and 10 rebounds. Curry and Thompson were a combined 10-for-30 from the field for only 31 points.
NBA Free Picks: Warriors are -6 with a total of 202.5 for Game 1. I'll give the points assuming Thompson is OK. Go 'over.' On the series result prop, I like Golden State in six at +450. The favored result is Warriors in seven at +300.