Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers Prediction & Preview
Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers 2018-06-01 NBA, Highlights and Goals Video
Cleveland Cavaliers (62-38 SU, 40-59-1 ATS, 46-52-2 O/U) at Golden State Warriors (70-29 SU, 43-55-1 ATS, 44-54-1 O/U)
When and Where: Thursday, May 31, Oracle Arena, Oakland, Calif., 9:05 p.m. EDT.
Updates 5/30 with Warriors F Iguodala ruled out for Game 1
The best player of this generation gets another chance to deny the best team of this generation as LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers look to avenge last year’s NBA Finals series loss to the Golden State Warriors as the teams meet for the fourth straight year starting with Game 1 on Thursday night.
James carries Cavs into fourth straight NBA Finals
is only the fifth player in NBA history and first from the non-Celtics dynasty teams of the 1950s and 1960s to reach eight consecutive league finals.
He added another chapter to his storied legacy by willing Cleveland (50-32) into this matchup and has averaged 34.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 8.8 assists this postseason while shooting 54.3 percent. James had 35 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists in Cleveland’s 87-79 Game 7 win at Boston on Sunday night, playing the full 48 minutes.
James has posted seven 40-point games in these playoffs, tying him for second with Michael Jordan (1989) and leaving him one shy of Jerry West’s all-time single-postseason mark of eight established in 1965. James has 13 double-doubles and three triple-doubles and also has logged 40 or more minutes in 11 of Cleveland’s 18 playoff games.
Still, James will need help if the Cavaliers are to beat the Warriors for the second time in this June rivalry. All-Star forward Kevin Love
remains in the league’s concussion protocol following his Game 6 collision with Jayson Tatum and has yet to be cleared for the series opener.
Love has averaged 13.9 points and 10.0 rebounds this postseason, shooting 34.6 percent from 3-point range.
If Love is unable to play, Jeff Green
will likely start in his place. He was an unlikely hero Sunday night with 19 points and eight rebounds and is enough of a threat from 3-point range to keep defenses honest.
While there have been times the Cavaliers have struggled defensively, they saved their best effort of the season for Game 7 at Boston, holding the Celtics to 34.1 percent shooting and 7 of 39 (17.9 percent) from 3-point range. Overall, Cleveland has held teams to 99.9 points per game in the postseason, a 10-point improvement from its regular-season mark of 109.9 per contest.
Warriors grind way back to NBA Finals
Golden State (58-24) also had to overturn a 3-2 series deficit and win a Game 7 on the road, doing so against Houston to extend its bid for a third title in four years.
The Warriors overcame a sluggish first quarter and overwhelmed the Rockets in the third en route to a 101-92 victory Monday night. Kevin Durant
scored 34 points while Stephen Curry
hit seven 3-pointers and added 27 for Golden State, which outscored Houston by 68 points cumulatively in the third quarter of the series after running up a 33-15 count in Game 7.
The Warriors also shined defensively, holding the Rockets under 100 points in the final five games of the conference finals and stifling them from the perimeter in Game 7. Houston missed its final 27 3-point attempts and finished a ghastly 7 for 44 (15.9 percent) from deep.
Curry is at full speed after missing the first six games of the postseason recovering from a sprained left knee. He has averaged 24.8 points in 11 games and upped that to 28.2 per contest in the final five against Houston while connecting on 40.3 percent of his 3-point attempts.
Durant, who torched Cleveland in last year’s finals to the tune of 35.2 points per game while shooting 55.6 percent and winning the NBA Finals MVP award, has scored at least 22 points in all 17 of Golden State’s playoff games this season and is averaging a team-high 29.0 overall.
Forward Draymond Green
continues to do a little bit of evertyhing and has averaged 11.1 points, 11.6 rebounds and 8.1 assists while posting 10 double-doubles and a triple-double this postseason.
Golden State’s lone injury concern is veteran Andre Iguodala
, who was ruled out for Game 1 on Wednesday and will miss his fifth consecutive postseason game with a lateral left leg contusion. The 2015 NBA Finals MVP has averaged 7.9 points and 3.1 assists in this postseason but is known more for helping maintain flow to the Warriors offense and bringing versatility on the defensive end.
likely will start in his place, though it is possible center JaVale McGee
could see some playing time due to better matchups after logging just 21 minutes combined in four games over the last two rounds.
The Cavaliers are:
- 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games vs. Pacific Division opponents.
- 1-9 ATS in their last 10 Thursday games.
The Warriors are:
- 6-2 ATS in their last eight vs. the Cavaliers.
- 4-1 ATS in their last five vs. the Cavaliers at home.
- The under is 8-2-2 in the last 12 games between the teams at Golden State.
- The under is 5-0 in Golden State’s last five games overall.
- The under is 4-0 in Cleveland’s last four road games.
Golden State won both games between the teams in the regular season, but both games were played before Cleveland overhauled its roster at the trade deadline. Durant and Klay Thompson
combined for 49 points in a 99-92 victory at Oracle Arena on Christmas Day, and Durant had 32 points in a 118-108 victory at Cleveland on Jan. 15.
James totaled 52 points in the two defeats but also had 15 turnovers. Love contributed 48 points and 25 rebounds, highlighted by a 31-18 effort in the loss at Golden State.
Including the playoffs, Golden State has won 17 of the 26 games between the teams since the start of the 2014-15 season.