LeBron James has reached an eighth NBA Finals in his career and a seventh in a row. His teams have been able to repeat just once – when he was with the Miami Heat. Can James lead his Cavaliers to another upset of the Golden State Warriors in this year’s Finals? Oddsmakers don’t think so as Cleveland is a +220 series underdog. Game 1 is Thursday night from Oakland.
Are Cavs A Safe Betting Pick To Win The 2017 NBA Championship?
Cleveland and Golden State have split the last two NBA Finals, with the Cavaliers defeating the Warriors 4-3 in the 2016 Finals to become the first team in league history to overcome a 3-1 Finals series deficit and earn their first NBA championship.
Golden State is 12-0 this postseason and Cleveland 12-1. Never have two teams entered a Finals with such dominance. Cleveland has the No. 1 offensive efficiency in the playoffs with 120.7 points per 100 possessions; Golden State is No. 2 at 115.8. The Warriors have the No. 1 defensive efficiency at 99.1 points allowed per 100 possessions; the Cavs are No. 3 at 104.6. Both teams have scored at least 100 points in every game thus far.
The favored Warriors, if they win, can consider themselves to be perhaps the greatest team in NBA history. LeBron, if he wins, will have authenticated the notion he should now be considered the greatest player ever – although it should be noted that Michael Jordan was 6-0 in his Finals career and James is 3-4.
For only the third time, the NBA Finals will feature seven players who made the All-Star team in the same season: LeBron, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson and Kevin Love.
The Cavaliers are the first Eastern Conference team to reach the NBA Finals with one or fewer losses since the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. Cleveland is 7-0 on the road and has won 9 straight road playoff games overall (2nd-longest road win streak in NBA Playoff history, behind only the L.A. Lakers-12 straight from 4/29/01-5/18/02).
James has passed Jordan as the NBA’s all-time leading playoff scorer. At age 32, with 5,995 postseason points, he shows no signs of slowing down. At a pace like this — scoring 30 or more points in 11 of the Cavs’ 13 playoff games and at least 35 points in seven — James is going to put that mark way out of reach for anyone else. There is certainly no one close to him on the playoff scoring list who can catch him. Among the active players near the top, Tony Parker (4,012) stands ninth, Dwyane Wade (3,871) 11th, Dirk Nowitzki (3,663) 15th and Durant (2,872) 28th.
“I want to go on record because I want to be the first one to say this. His record, when he’s done, will be unbreakable,” teammate Richard Jefferson said recently.
James is seventh in career playoff rebounds (1,862), third in assists (1,439), second in steals (382), fifth in 2-point attempts (1,797), third in 3-point attempts (319), second in free-throw attempts (1,444), second in minutes played (8,915), and ninth in total games (212).
ESPN’s BPI says the Warriors have a 93 percent chance of winning the series. James himself, the reigning Finals MVP, has said the Warriors have been the best team in the league for the past three years and referred to them as both a “beast” and a “juggernaut.”
No, the Cavs aren’t a safe pick to win the Finals. Barring a key injury to one of the Warriors star or Green getting himself suspended again, Golden State will get payback this time.