After a week of waiting, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will finally meet in the 2015 NBA Finals. Game 1 is set for Thursday night at Oracle Arena, where the No.1 seed in the West has been nearly impossible to defeat.
Having home-court advantage, Golden State is favored to win the series, as well as the opener. The Warriors went 39-2 on their home floor in the regular season, and they’ve won seven of their eight home playoff games.
Despite a few injury scares in the last two games of the Western Conference Finals, Golden State appears to be healthy. Stephen Curry only missed a quarter after his scary fall in Game 4, and Klay Thompson has practiced for three straight days after suffering a concussion in Game 5.
“I’m good to go,” Thompson told reporters on Thursday.
Cleveland continues to deal with injury concerns. Kevin Love will miss the entire series, just as he did in the last two rounds, but the health of Kyrie Irving still remains a question mark. After missing two games in the Eastern Conference Finals, the point guard has had a week to rest up. Irving will play in Game 1, though he’s admitted he won’t be 100 percent recovered from his left knee injury.
"It's an adjustment but ... I'm just going to go out there and will myself to play," Irving said.
LeBron James hopes to repeat the success he had against the Warriors in the regular season. He scored 42 points against Golden State on Feb. 26, adding 11 rebounds, five assists and three steals. The Warriors were the NBA’s best defensive team in the regular season, and they have a few players capable of defending James.
James is playing in his fifth consecutive NBA Finals, and his teams haven’t been very successful in the series openers. His team has lost Game 1 in each of the last three years. James and the Cavaliers also lost Game 1 against the San Antonio Spurs in the 2007 NBA Finals.
NBA Finals Game 1 winner goes on to win the series 70.6 percent of the time. LeBron James is 0-3 all-time in ROAD Game 1s in the NBA Finals
â€” ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 4, 2015
No player on Golden State has any NBA Finals experience, but the Warriors have breezed through the playoffs. Curry is averaging 29.2 points per game, and he has set an NBA record by making at least three three-pointers in each of his last eight postseason games.
Golden State has been the better team all season long, and they are giving Cleveland six points on Thursday night. James will likely need more help than he’s gotten in order to upset the Warriors, having averaged a near triple-double in the playoffs.
Start Time: 9 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ABC
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Point Spread: Warriors by 6 points
Over/Under: 203.5 points
Prediction: Golden State over Cleveland, 110-99