Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, June 2, 2016 at 9:20 AM
THE NBA FINALS - IT'S CAVS-WARRIORS PART II AND WE BREAK IT ALL DOWN ...
PLUS THE BASEBALL UPDATE: THE KERSHAW EFFECT
The last time we had an NBA Finals rematch?
Heck, you don't have to travel back in time very far 'cause the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat bucked heads back-to-back years in the championship round in 2014 and 2013 with the Spurs getting revenge for that seven-game series loss in the spring of '13.
Will we be saying the same thing about the Cleveland Cavaliers in a couple of weeks from now? Can they get revenge for losing last year's NBA Finals in six games?
The Cavs - who were severely short-handed in last year's NBA Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors - are the picture of health these days and it's helped matters that the Eastern Conference champs have only played two games over the playoff minimum thus far (they're 12-2 straight-up in this post-season while the Warriors are a collective 12-5 SU) and so Tyronn Lue's club had five full days to prep for this ultimate playoff round while the Warriors come in after having just two full days off after eliminating Oklahoma City this past Monday night in an epic seven-game Western Conference Finals set.
NBA FINALS - THE LAST 10 YEARS
Here's a look back the past 10 years' worth of NBA Finals:
THE NBA FINALS -- Game 1
CLEVELAND at GOLDEN STATE - 9 p.m. ET, ABC
Word is the underdog Cavaliers will "push the pace" here and make this a run-run game that may or may not play right into the Warriors' hands ... but then why not play the best way Cleveland plays and that's up-tempo hoops?
Okay, so we know champion Golden State loves to "push it" and there's plenty of quality depth to keep everyone fresh with the likes of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green backed by a team that goes 10-deep in head coach Steve Kerr's world but will G-State have its "legs" here after that grueling seven-game series versus Oklahoma City and will Curry/Thompson be able to score and defend when dealing with the likes of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving?
It'll be entertaining basketball, for sure, but in terms of long-range effects, you do wonder if the Cavs might be a bit stronger at this stage of the schedule and maybe the longer this series goes the better it is for the Cavaliers ... we'll see.
If you consider that Curry/Thompson/Green is a "wash" scoring-wise against James/Irving/Kevin Love then it's the proverbial role players that will make the difference both here in Game 1 and throughout this best-of-seven series - and remember no more 2-3-2 format as the Warriors will be at home for Games 1, 2, 5 and 7 (if necessary) - and so there will be immense pressure on the likes of Cleveland's Channing Frye and Golden State's Shaun Livingstone as their points-off-the-pine will be critical here.
Now, here's the regular-season head-to-head matchups between the Cavaliers and the Warriors (note all teams are in CAPS below):
|12-25||GOLDEN ST||- 6.5||Cleveland||89-83|
|1-18||Golden St||+ 3.5||CLEVELAND||132-98|
Here's a little summation of the two regular-season games between the Cavaliers and the Warriors:
Dec. 25 ... GOLDEN STATE 89, CLEVELAND 83 - This 2015 Christmas Day showdown wound up being a lock-down defensive-oriented game with the host Warriors snagging the SU win despite getting just a combined 37 points from sharp-shooters Steph Curry (19 points) and Klay Thompson. Instead, Draymond Green's 22-point, 15-rebound performance was key as was the fact the Cavaliers shot just 30-of-95 from the floor (that's 31.6 percent) with LeBron James (25 points) getting precious little help from his mates.
Jan. 18 ...GOLDEN STATE 132, CLEVELAND 98 - It was blowout city for the defending champion Warriors who charged out to a 70-43 halftime and coasted behind Curry's 35 points plus a 20-point night for last year's NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala. Remember that Cavs' G J.R. Smith was ejected in this game for a Flagrant 2 foul for lowering his shoulder and bull-rushing into Harrison Barnes. One final note here: Golden State shot a blistering 46-of-85 from the field (54.1 percent) while the Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love shot a combined 4-of-16 FGs.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have been bashing the books right from the start of this year's NBA Playoffs and nothing's gonna change here as we head into the Finals on Thursday. We'll continue to rock-n-roll our way through the NBA post-season – and you can purchase Jim's NBA Post Season program right here at www.VegasSportsMasters.com or call 1-888-777-4155 each/every day and be sure that we'll send you straight into the winner's circle.
Plus, there's Winning Major-League Baseball on tap every day in either Jim's Hit and Run Baseball Club or the Highly Rated Blue Ribbon Baseball Club… Don't miss another opportunity to cash in big RIGHT NOW!
THE BASEBALL REPORT
Now that Los Angeles Dodgers' LHP Clayton Kershaw (7-1, 1.56 ERA with 105 Ks and 5 BB and an 0.65 WHIP) just chewed up and spit out any/all competition for the month of May, we were wondering how this National League West team fares in all other games considering they are an electric 10-1 in starts made thus far in 2016 by Mr. Kershaw. Well, heading into Wednesday night's game at Wrigley Field, the Dodgers (28-25) are just 18-24 in the non-Kershaw starts and it's sure tough to make the playoffs when you're playing .428 ball in the games your ace doesn't start. Do keep in mind that last year the Dodgers went 23-9 in games started by then star RHP Zack Greinke who now hurls for the rival Arizona Diamondbacks. Hey, maybe the best Kershaw stat out there this year: Four home runs allowed in 86.2 innings. Note there are six other Dodgers pitchers who've thrown more homers than Kershaw even though nobody's within 23 innings of his total!
NOTE: We will review NBA Finals Game 1 in tomorrow's Jim Sez plus catch all our MLB News & Notes too!