NBA Finals Picks — Can Cavs Take Advantage of Iggy’s Absence?
Between the two teams that are meeting in the NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers have gone through much more in the way of transition than the Golden State Warriors. But obviously the guy who has been consistently part of the mix is LeBron James, and some people who are evaluating this championship series are of the opinion that as long as he is present, his team has a chance. Game 1 of this series begins at 9:05 PM ET on Thursday, and remember that if you are a BetAnySports customer, you can place wagers while the game is in progress, accessing the state-of-the-art software available through Live Betting Ultra.
James, along with Cavaliers management, decided it needed to change the roster around before the trade deadline, so people like Isaiah Thomas, Dywane Wade, Channing Frye, Derrick Rose and Jae Crowder was sent packing. The grade on the newcomers has to be “incomplete,” because none of them have made a major impact. However, Cleveland could find some good role-playing in there somewhere. Jeff Green, for example, scored 19 points in Game 7 over the Boston Celtics, as the Cavs ended Boston’s home playoff winning streak. Point guard George Hill can be a real asset hounding Steph Curry, and he also has a wealth of playoff experience.
Interestingly enough, the Cavaliers are 7-1 straight-up in games where the margin has been within five points with five minutes to go. So they can play the close ones, for certain. They have employed a different starting lineups in the post-season, and without Andre Iguodala (out with an injury) on the opposite side, they probably have a little more room to take advantage of matchups.
A big question involves whether LeBron is tired. As you may know, he played all 82 regular-season games, and in the last two games of the Boston series, he logged 46 and 48 minutes. A 34 ppg scorer in the playoffs, he has worked a lot of magic to get his team to this spot, but it his teammates don’t contribute, he may have to decide whether he’s going to have to let defense suffer at the expense of his offense.
In the NBA finals odds that have been posted on Game 1 of this series by the people at BetAnySports, Golden State is a sizable favorite:
Golden State Warriors -13
Cleveland Cavaliers +13
Over 214.5 points -110
Under 214.5 points -110
What can the Cavs take advantage of? Well, Golden State is definitely not the best rebounding team in the league, and in fact, they are not even among the top 20. They could put some muscle up front, but Cleveland is the team more likely to do that, as long as they have Tristan Thompson, and Larry Nance the back him up. Again, without Iguodala, Cleveland doesn’t suffer from having to go against that “Death lineup” the Warriors like to use.
But it’s unlikely that Cleveland can count on Golden State to miss a lot of open three-pointers, the way the Celtics did. Boston was very disappointing in that East finals series, for a team that was second in the league at 37.7% from beyond the arc. They made only 34% of their uncontested triples, and we don’t necessarily see Golden State doing that. The dilemma for the Cavaliers is that if they put their more dangerous scorers on the floor, the going to suffer on the defensive end. But they may just have to roll those dice.
Both teams have to be somewhat fatigued, but there seems to be something upsetting the Warriors’ flow without Iggy, the former NBA Finals MVP, in the rotation. He had been starting games for Kerr, but without him available, it might just afford the Cavs enough room to cover what is a rather bloated pointspread.
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