Who takes Game 1 of the NBA Finals?
It has finally arrived. After a long week without basketball, the 2017 NBA Finals begin tonight in Oakland. Whether you love or hate the fact that we’re watching the third consecutive Finals showdown between Golden State and Cleveland, this is certainly the most anticipated postseason series in 2017. Both teams breezed through their respective series with only one loss between them. We’ve seen throughout the season and playoffs that the only teams that have a shot beating Cleveland and Golden State are, frankly, Cleveland and Golden State.
Thankfully, we’ll get healthy versions of both teams. In 2015, Cleveland lost two of their star players in Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. In 2016, Golden State struggled with a Draymond Green suspension and a Steph Curry ejection. The only person missing from this series is Steve Kerr. As great of a coach as he is, I doubt it will make that much of a difference on the star-studded squad that is the Golden State Warriors.
Here’s how Game 1 looks tonight.
Vegas odds put Golden State as the favorite to win this series, and the odds of Golden State winning Game 1 are even greater. After all, the Warriors are 90-10 in their last 100 games in Oracle. They’re entering the series with more rest and, likely, more confidence. Sure, Steve Kerr doesn’t feel well enough to coach, but the Warriors are generally healthy. Kevin Durant and Steph Curry are both on their A-Game. Draymond Green has yet to get suspended. Klay Thompson has adapted quite well to a more supportive role this season. And, to put a little icing on the cake, they’re 2-0 in Game 1’s against the Cavs. The addition of KD makes them even more likely to extend that Game 1 winning streak. Honestly, it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise if Golden State finishes the postseason 16-0 by sweeping the Cavs.
But all of this doesn’t exactly guarantee a victory for the Warriors.
Cleveland heads into the series coming off an impressive run of their own. Their only loss comes as a result of a lackluster performance from LeBron James. I said it before and I’ll say it again: we won’t see LeBron play that poorly again, especially considering how well he plays in the Finals. Though he may have played on the losing team in his two previous postseason meetings with Golden State, an argument can be made that he deserved the MVP award for both series. Also, it seems like Kyrie really believes he’s a better player than Steph, and he has ample reason for such a belief. Injured in Game 1 of the 2015 series, Irving missed the rest of the Finals. But when a healthy Uncle Drew faced off against Steph in 2016, he got the best of the unanimous MVP.
However, I still am not quite sold on the idea of an upset in Game 1. Cleveland showed a few glaring holes in their defensive game during the Eastern Conference Finals. If the Cavs can figure things out, they might have a shot in Game 1. However, the Warriors offense is on a whole different level in comparison to the Celtics. I’m sure LeBron and Co. will make something work defensively—just not in Game 1.
Warriors win, 110-102.Filed under: Sports, NBA Basketball, Playoffs, Finals, Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers, Lebron James, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Draymond Green, Steve Kerr, Klay Thompson