It’s that time of year again. The NBA Finals series is here and the Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Golden State Warriors for the fourth year in a row. Heading into this year’s series, much of the focus has revolved around LeBron James and his future with the Cavaliers.
Cleveland cannot afford to think too much about James and whether he will stay or leave though; it is time to harness all of their efforts on beating the well-fancied Warriors.
Relentless Warriors Destined For Glory?
At 1/14, Golden State are ridiculously short in the betting but with good reason. The likes of Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Draymond Green are all capable of winning games on their own – Durant in particular has been incredible in recent months.
He had to deal with his fair share of criticism after leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016 but Durant has thick skin and he can deal with the abuse. The 2017 NBA Finals MVP is well priced at 3/5 to snag that individual accolade again this year.
The Warriors were pushed to their limits by the Houston Rockets during the Conference Finals but Golden State should improve for those excursions. Steve Kerr’s side boast one of the most talented rosters in NBA history and the Warriors are building a dynasty era.
Golden State weren’t quite as strong during the regular season but they do tend to raise their game during the playoffs and Cleveland will be up against it if the Warriors take an early series lead.
Cavaliers Desperate To Settle The Score
Golden State have won the title in two of the last three years but Cleveland supporters will be urging their side to take inspiration from that infamous 2016 win.
The Cavaliers roster has changed somewhat since then but the general situation in the NBA remains the same: Golden State run the West, Cleveland run the East. The Boston Celtics almost had Tyronn Lue’s men this year but LeBron and co always find a way.
Cleveland showed plenty of resilience to come back from 2-0 down in that Conference Finals series and the Cavaliers may have to dig deep again here. Are 7/1 Cleveland capable of bouncing back against a team like the Warriors? Only time will tell.
James cannot do it all on his own though; Kevin Love’s form will be central to Cleveland’s title hopes. Naturally, LeBron will carry the Cavaliers throughout the series but the likes of Love must step up on the big stage or else Cleveland will fail.
Hard To Look Past Golden State
A one-sided series is expected and the 4-1 in favour of Golden State must be considered at 5/4. The Warriors are the most complete team in the NBA and they have the beating of Cleveland in all areas of the court.
A mammoth effort from LeBron may keep the Cavaliers in with an outside chance but this could get very ugly indeed for the 2016 champions. On current form, the NBA title is heading in one direction and that is back to the Bay Area.
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*