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2015 NBA Betting – NBA Finals Preview

Posted by Craig Parsons on 5/25/2015 10:47:56 PM

The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers have cruised into the NBA Finals, and they’ll both have a full week off before they begin their championship series on June 4. That week-long break is just one of many things you’ll have to pay attention to when you size up this series.

NBA Finals Preview:

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors

When the playoffs began, this was the series most people predicted. Some people thought that the Atlanta Hawks would be here in place of the Cavaliers, and some thought the San Antonio Spurs could fight past the Warriors to defend their Western Conference titles from 2013 and 2014. Yet, Golden State and Cleveland overcame everyone else to win their respective conferences. The Warriors did not have to play San Antonio, and they’ve been the most injury-free team in the playoffs, a big reason for their success. They lost Marreese Speights, but he’s a marginal role player, not anyone central to the way the team plays. All their main starters and reserves have been healthy, while the Memphis Grizzlies lost Mike Conley and Tony Allen for portions of time, and Houston had to go into the Western Conference finals without point guard Patrick Beverley. This has been a reason the Warriors have advanced to the finals, and it forms the basis of an important debate as the Finals get off the ground: Will Cleveland be healthy enough to keep up with Golden State?

The Cavaliers have been without forward Kevin Love for two full series, and they’ll be without him for this one as well. Kyrie Irving should play in this series, but he’s missed multiple playoff games spanning multiple playoff series. His lift on his jump shots is not what it once was, and since Kyrie has been a defensive liability for much of the playoffs, it’s an open question as to whether he’ll wind up playing a lot of minutes in the end. He might become an offense-for-defense substitution, someone who either plays or doesn’t play based on what the scoreboard says. Can Irving heal to the point that his minutes aren’t micro-managed by head coach David Blatt? That’s an open question right now, and while it could work out well for Cleveland, it’s going to be hard to trust as a bettor that Irving will be fully physically ready. The week-long layoff before the series will certainly help, but we’re just not fully sure right now, and we might not know until after we see at least a little bit of Game 1 on June 4 in Oracle Arena.

The next question is how well Cleveland’s other players, guys like J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert, will be able to play against Golden State’s defense. The Warriors had a hard time handling James Harden of the Houston Rockets, but they won’t face guards or shooters as explosive on the Cavaliers. Cleveland can’t have LeBron James do everything; it will need more from its supporting cast. If you trust the Cavs’ supplementary players, this could be a tough series, but if not, you should pick a Golden State sweep.

The feeling here is that Cleveland’s role players have grown up enough that this will be a longer series, not a shorter one. However, the Warriors are still the king of the jungle this season.

NBA Betting Pick: Golden State in 6

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