Hoopster: Cavs are underdogs
THIS is terribly outrageous but it will only serve as a great motivation for LeBron James aka The King.
According to the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas, the reiging NBA titlist Golden State Warriors are overwhelming favorites to beat James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the fourth consecutive Finals between the two teams.
If you are to believe them, the Las Vegas oddsmakers have the Warriors opening the best-of-seven Finals as -1,000 favorites to romp away with the Larry O’Brien championship hardware – the largest in at least 16 seasons according to odds database Sportsoddshistory.com.
One would think that James’ chances of a fourth title in nine Finals apearances are slim and none. Cleveland opened as a +650 underdog against Golden State in this year’s Finals.
James, though, is having a fantastic 2018 playoff run with 18-games (12-6) averages of 34.0 points (.542 FGA, .344 3-FGA, .726 FTA), 9.2 rebounds, 8.8 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.1 shot blocks and countless number of autographs signed (love him or hate him, he is one heck of a physical specimen).
James has been a one-man wrecking crew and owns an underwhelming supporting cast outside injured second wheel Kevin Love.
But If there’s somebody who can carry his team singlehandedly, it’s The King.
By virtue of a better regular record, Golden State will again own the home-court advantage in the Finals with a 2-2-1-1 format. The Warriors registered a 58-24 card during the regulars as opposed to Cleveland’s 50-32.
The Dubs also swept their two-game head-to-head series with the Cavs, winning 99-92 (December 25, 2017) and 118-108 (January 15, 2018) at a time when Cleveland had not overhauled its roster through various trades.
The 2018 Finals unwrap on Friday June 1 (Manila time, 9 a.m.) at the Warriors’ Oracle Arena with the Bay Arena squad being pegged a 12-point favorite. That equalled the largest point spread in a Finals game since 1991. In that year’s series opener, the Los Angeles Lakers were 12-point favorites to beat Philadelphia but Allen Iverson and the 76ers defied the odds by winning, 107-101, in overtime. (The Lakers went on to repeat as champions via a 4-1 decision and complete the postseason with a 15-1 record.)
Cleveland’s All-Star frontliner Kevin Love remains questionable for the Finals series opener after being placed under the NBA’s concussion control and missing Game Seven of the East finals against Boston following a head collision with Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum during the first quarter of Game Six.
Game Two of the NBA Finals will also be hosted by Golden State on Monday June 4 Manila time (8 a.m.) before the series shifts to Cleveland for Games Three (Thursday June 7, MT, 9 a.m.) and Four (Saturday June 9, MT, 9 a.m.).
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The best-of-seven NBA Finals will feature a fourth straight matchup between Golden State and Cleveland.
In all four, the Warriors are enjoying homecourt advantage.
In LeBron James’ ninth Finals trip (including five with Cleveland), he and his team will be playing Game One on the road for a seventh time. The only times he opened at home were in 2011 (4-2 loss to Dallas) and 2013 (4-3 win vs. San Antonio) while donning the colors of the Miami Heat.
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I am swaying my hips to the beat of the late rock-and-roll king Elvin Presley’s “HOUND DOG.”
I enjoy listening to the music of the iconic 1970s band HOTDOG.
But with all the respect to the oddsmakers who have pegged the Golden Warriors as heavy favorites to beat- if not sweep – the Cleveland Cavaliers for the 2018 NBA title, my heart belongs to the UNDERDOG.
I will sink or swim with LeBron James and the Cavaliers, no matter what the odds are and come hell or high water.
Who knows, the UNDERDOG David may just spring a surprise and slay Goliath.
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In losing to the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors, the Houston Rockets lived and died by the three-point shot in Game 7, losing 101-92 after missing 27 straight attempts from beyond the arc at one stretch.
Neither did the Rockets’ staple isolation-heavy offense produced an NBA Finals berth.
So long farewell, Houston and Boston – both losers at home in Game Seven of the West and East finals, respectively, on consecutive days.
Gone fishing? Headed to El Nido? Wait till next year?
What if next year never comes as the two teams shuffle their rosters during the summer through the draft, trades and free agency?
Marcus Smart is a restricted free agent who believe he is worth more than S12-14 million a year, an amount Boston is unwilling to shell out.
Chris Paul is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and his stay in Houston was simply a one-year experiment.
What if Celtics stars Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving are no longer their old selves because of their injuries?
What if San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard is available and Hayward is the price to pay?
What if the world is ending after the season?
How sure are you it will not?
Nothing is sure in life. Nothing is guaranteed. Nothing is etched in stone.
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