The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will meet for the fourth time in four years to decide which club is the best in the NBA. In the NBA Finals series over the past three years, the Warriors hold the edge two games to one. Golden State took home the Larry O’Brien Championship trophy in 2015 and 2017. The Cavs earned it in 2016. Which team takes it home this time is anyone’s guess. Both teams had to play and win a game seven in their conference championship matchup to make it this far. Our 2018 NBA Finals series pick has the Warriors heavily favored at -900. Cleveland is a decided underdog at +675.
When it comes to putting points on the board in the postseason, the Warriors are a good eight points per game better than the Cavaliers. State is scoring 109.1 PPG, while Cleveland is at 101.2. Shooting percentage from the field and downtown are fairly similar with Golden State holding a slight edge in both areas. But when it comes to foul shooting, the Warriors are superior, as they are hitting .815 of their frees and the Cavs are good on .756. That’s a fairly big difference that can make or break a team in the playoffs.
When it comes to scoring points, no one scores more per game than LeBron James. (34.0). He’s also averaging 8.8 APG. Center Kevin Love is back from his concussion. He’s the second-best scorer on the Cavs and is good for 13.9 PPG. His shooting percentage is at 38%, which is much lower than James’ 54%. Guards Kyle Korver, George Hill, and JR Smith are each good for about nine points per game.
The Warriors come loaded with guys who average 20-plus points per game. SF Kevin Durant (29.0), PG Stephen Curry (24.8), and SG Klay Thompson (20.5) are each fine point producers. PF Draymond Green is tossing in 11.1 PPG. He tops the team in assists with 8.1 per game.
Both teams can pound the boards. Still, the Warriors are better at grabbing the loose ball. Golden State is averaging 46.2 RPG while Cleveland is taking in 40.1 RPG. The Warriors are +4.0 in rebounds. The Cavs are at +0.01. James and Love are the two best guys the Cavaliers have in the paint. They’re averaging 9.2 and 10.0 RPG respectively. For the Warriors, it’s Green who is tops in rebbies, averaging 11.6 per contest. Other players who can battle for the ball include Durant (7.1) and Curry (6.1).
Our 2018 NBA Finals Series Pick
Like the odds makers, we like the Warriors in our 2018 NBA Finals series pick. They are deeper and have a solid advantage when it comes to free throws and rebounds. The Warriors are also plus-three over the Cavs in steals. We are taking Golden State in six.