Cleveland (0-0) at Golden State (0-0)
When: Thursday, June 2nd 2016
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
Time: 9:05 ET | TV: ABC
For the second straight year, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will fight for the NBA Championship. The Warriors defeated the short-handed Cavaliers last June in six games and feel they are a better team then they were a season ago. “I know we’re a better team than we were last year, just off experience and what we’ve been through in this postseason,” Curry told reporters on Wednesday. “(We’re) better equipped to kind of handle the scene of The Finals and all that’s kind of thrown at you when you get here.” Curry scored 36 points in Game 7 as Golden State finished off its comeback from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference finals and he and shooting guard Klay Thompson combined for 62 three-point baskets in the series – 32 by Curry; 30 by Thompson. Golden State edged out Cleveland 89-83 at home on Christmas Day then blew out the Cavaliers on the road a month later by 34 points.
Cleveland forward LeBron James says his team is better positioned to win the rematch and he was definitely testy when told the Warriors are heavy favorites. “Not my concern,” James told reporters. “I don’t get involved in all of that — underdog, overdog, whatever the case may be. It’s stupidity.” James is playing in his seventh NBA Finals and has only emerged as a winner twice – both times with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh as teammates on the Miami Heat. Cleveland was without power forward Kevin Love (shoulder) for all of last season’s championship series, lost point guard Kyrie Irving (kneecap) in the opener and has Tryonn Lue as head coach after the midseason firing of David Blatt. Irving is averaging 24.3 points and has topped 20 points in 12 of Cleveland’s 14 postseason games. “Organization-wise, it’s the same two teams, but playing-wise and players-wise, we’re a different team”, said Lue. “Kevin and Kyrie are both healthy, the addition of (backup forward) Channing Frye, we’re a completely different team than we were last year.”
Cleveland managed to take two games in last year’s Finals without Love and Irving, but Golden State is a better team this year. Curry looks completely healthy now and the Warriors are almost unstoppable when he is, especially at home. LeBron and company will keep it close for three quarters, but Thompson and Curry will bury the Cavs in the fourth.
Pick: Warriors -6