San Antonio Spurs @ Golden State Warriors
There was a waft of inevitability about the Warriors’ comeback win in Game One, though it does not undermine the genius we witnessed. With Kawhi Leonard suffering another injury after a dominant first half, the Spurs’ confidence took an almighty blow as a Steph Curry inspired Warriors overturned a 20 point half-time deficit in some style, with Curry notching 40 points on the night.
Leonard will miss Game Two in California as Greg Popovich’s Spurs cobble together a starting five with Tony Parker sidelined for the remainder of the play-offs.
The Warriors performed as poorly as they have all season during the first half on Sunday night, and the Spurs deserve great credit for upsetting one of basketball’s all-time greatest teams. Passes were misplaced and clear looks infrequent, but the way they roared back to take a 1-0 lead in the series sees a massive psychological advantage for the 2016 finalists.
Scoring 71 points in the second half, the Warriors are a solid bet to notch over 111.5 points again at 9/10 and marginally above Evens to make it 2-0 as part of a double. The absence of Leonard leaves the Spurs looking down the barrel as they may have missed their one chance to make this a close fought series. The Warriors are at 2/1 to take the series 4-0.
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Boston Celtics
Having relinquished the number one seed in the Eastern Conference to the Boston Celtics, the Cleveland Cavaliers travel east for Game One of the finals. The Celtics rode bench dominance and another stellar Isaiah Thomas performance to take Game Seven in the semis, while the Cavs have been resting since they completed their sweep of the Toronto Raptors on May 8th.
Despite losing their first two postseason home games to the Chicago Bulls, the Celtics have won five straight at TD Garden. In the regular season they held a 30-11 record with homecourt advantage, while the Cavaliers struggled on the road; ending the season at 20-21 away from Quicken Loans Arena. Led by the freak that is LeBron James, however, the reigning champions have dominated the
The Cavs won the season series with the Celtics 3-1 and racked up points at a relentless rate. With the chance to exploit a red-hot Thomas potentially matching up against the defensively questionable Kyrie Irving though, the Celtics are in with a shout given their formidable recent record at home.
It’ll be a high scorer if Cleveland are to take a 1-0 lead and their additional rest should give them the upper hand in the series. My pick is a Cavaliers victory and over 220.5 points at 21/20.