The Golden State Warriors are one of the sharpest and most active organizations in the NBA, and so you can imagine that when they lost three straight games to blow a 3-1 lead in games against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals last season, they were going to reach out and make a move to put them over the top, like they were in 2015, when they were able to defeat the Cavs. They have done that, signing Kevin Durant as a free agent, and it is with him in the starting lineup that they take aim at the Cavs in a best-of-seven series between teams that have lost only one game between them on the road to this championship showdown.
NBA Finals Odds:
In the NBA Finals Odds posted at VietBet, the Warriors went into the series as a favorite to take the title:
Golden State Warriors -265
Cleveland Cavaliers +225
VietBet customers will have a chance to choose from among a lot of great proposition odds, not to mention alternative lines for each game of this series, and they are also able to place wagers while the games are underway with the use of Live Betting Ultra and its state-of-the-art software.
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The Warriors added a stunning new dimension with Durant in the lineup. He is obviously a great scorer, and he also provides all the other elements, even defense, where he is known as a better “rim protector” than the guy he replaced, Harrison Barnes. That is important in the team’s “Death Lineup,” which gives them a smaller look, with the natural center out of the lineup and Andre Iguodala, the Finals MVP two years ago, assuming the small forward spot. This five-man combination – which also includes Draymond Green, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson – outscored its opponents by 23.9 points per 100 possessions, which made it the most potent in the league. And the funny thing is, they don’t lose very much when they re-insert Zaza Pachulia, the center, and take out Iguodala, who has also won the league’s Sixth Man Award, as they are +23.1 points per 100 over their foes.
What the Warriors may be hoping to do with their lineup manipulation is take Kevin Love out of the picture as much as possible. We say that because Love is one of the members of the Cavs who can operate on the inside and the outside – as an effective rebounder, not to mention a three-point shooter, and NBA bettors who are familiar with his style of play know that he is one of the more formidable outlet passers in the league. Love does have the ability to carry this team at times with triples – you saw that against the Boston Celtics – and the Warriors aren’t necessarily going to be able to much to contest his shot, since, after all, he is 6’11”. But because Love is not a capable defender, the Cavs will sometimes be at a loss as to what he can do when Golden State has that “Death Lineup” in the game, as he doesn’t have the quickness to deal with Durant or Iguodala. So Tyronn Lue may have to sacrifice by taking him off the floor, as he had to do often in last year’s playoffs.
VietBet patrons will also evaluate the contributions of the respective benches before the start of each of these games. Cleveland can bring a lot of three-point firepower off the pines, as Kyle Korver and Deron Williams have joined up with an already potent crew. One thing you can say about the Cavs – even if they have to keep Love off the floor for long stretches, they will have people who can drill it from beyond the arc. And Curry is not the strongest defensive presence out on the perimeter.
But Golden State can get itself into any configuration it wants, if the role players come in and can hold their own. We’re talking about people like Ian Clark, who sometimes gets very hot from the outside; David West, who gives them a nice high-post presence in the smaller lineup who can also bang, and JeVale McGee, who provides a lot of energy, if only for short spurts, with the Warriors outscoring opponents by 20 points for every 48 minutes he’s on the floor.
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