As the NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers (65-31, 28-20 away) and Golden State Warriors (79-18, 46-3 home) begin, there are plenty of discussions about the dominant Western Conference versus the weak Eastern Conference.
Golden State may have had a tougher road getting to the Finals, but the truth is the Warriors did suffer their setbacks against the East in the regular season, losing on the road to both Cleveland and Atlanta.
After beating the Cavs without Lebron James (112-94) in January at Oracle Arena, the high-flying Warriors were tripped up (110-99) at Quicken Loans Arena a month later.
Also, against the No. 1 Eastern Conference seed Atlanta Hawks, which the Cavs swept in the semifinals, Golden State lost on the road (124-116) in February before beating them (114-95) at Oracle.
The reason behind pointing that out isn’t to say the Cavs will win the NBA Finals, it’s that the match-up is closer than most are suggesting. Also, after Cleveland added Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, and Timofey Mozgov during the season, the squad was playing like a 65-win team.
Of course, it remains to be seen what Cleveland can get out of Kyrie Irving, who for the last two rounds of the playoffs has been dealing with leg issues.
Looking at the series, it’s hard to predict Golden State losing at home; they suffered just two setbacks at Oracle during the regular season. That said, Memphis did manage to eke out a win in the Bay Area in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals. So, while a longshot, earning a split in the first two games isn’t impossible for the Cavs.
Before Game 1 of the finals gets underway on Thursday (June 4), have a gander at the odds for both teams to win the series and the (rather long) odds of either squad earning a sweep:
Odds to Win the 2015 NBA Finals:
Cleveland Cavaliers: +200
Golden State Warriors: -240
2015 NBA Finals Props:
Cavaliers Win in 4 Games: 20/1
Cavaliers Win in 5 Games: 16/1
Cavaliers Win in 5 Games: 18/5
Cavaliers Win in 7 Games: 6/1
Warriors Win in 4 Games: 17/2
Warriors Win in 5 Games: 13/5
Warriors Win in 6 Games: 9/2
Warriors Win in 7 Games: 16/5
(Photo credit: Keith Allison (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode]. Photo has been cropped.)