A galaxy of stars are set to collide in the NBA’s own version of the Star Wars trilogy when arch rivals Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers clash in the NBA Finals for the third consecutive year.
A new-look Warriors outfit, bolstered by the power signing of Kevin Durant from the Thunder, will be out to avenge a 4-3 series defeat after surrendering a seemingly unassailable 3-1 series lead in the best of seven NBA Finals.
The star power in this year’s finals is immense with no less than seven All Stars from both teams taking part in the finals.
Golden State’s All Star cast includes Durant, Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson while the Cavaliers suit up All Stars LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, with the latter celebrating his first All Star appearance as a Cavalier.
While the Warriors look loaded with KD in the line-up, the Cavs also look a stronger unit with the acquisition of perimeter shooter Kyle Korver, veteran point guard Deron Williams and Derrick Williams.
Their contributions will be pivotal to the Cavs’ hopes of stealing one on the road and gaining home court advantage heading into game 3 in Cleveland.
On the other side of the ledger, the Warriors are looking for redemption after their game 7 capitulation in last year’s NBA Finals finale.
The Warriors can erase that memory with a strong showing on their home court in the series opener.
In the midst of a perfect run in the NBA Playoffs, the Warriors’ only concern appears to be the health of their coaching staff who in the words of head coach Steve Kerr are ‘’dropping like flies’’.
Kerr has been under the weather suffering migraines and nausea arising from back surgery and is reportedly unlikely to take his place on the sidelines.
Assistant Warriors coach Mike Brown has also been unwell and has missed Warriors’ practice but his absence was more of a precaution to ensure the players stay healthy.
No team has been on a bigger tear than the Golden State Warriors, who are 10-0 in their last 10 and 12-0 overall in the NBA Playoffs.
The Western Conference champions lead the post-season in points (118.3), assists (27.8) and steals (9.2) which are all hallmarks of a championship calibre team.
Defensively, the Warriors hold a decided edge averaging 6.8 blocks per game and 9.6 steals per game compared to the Cavs’ 4.0 BPG and 6.6 SPG.
In points conceded, the Warriors are 11th in the NBA giving up 104.3 PPG while the Cavs are 20th allowing 107.2 PPG.
In what could be a series of swings, the Warriors to land the first blow and take an early 1-0 lead heeading into game 2.
Golden State at $1.31
Cleveland at $3.65
Tip: Golden State at $1.31
Line tip: Cleveland +7.5 (1.89)
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