Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, June 1, 2017 at 1:23 PM
IT'S HERE, IT'S FINALLY HERE - THE NBA FINALS TIPS OFF TONIGHT WITH CAVALIERS, WARRIORS IN THEIR LATEST ON-COURT SQUABBLE, AND WE HAVE A GAME 1 PREVIEW
PLUS, THE MLB REPORT ASKS: CAN ANYONE OUT THERE BEAT THE ASTROS?
When we last saw the NBA, it was way back on May 25th and the Cleveland Cavaliers were busy putting on the finishing touches of their Eastern Conference Playoff Series triumph against the Boston Celtics ... now, that was a long time ago, wasn't it?
So, we welcome back the "association" beginning with tonight's series opener in the latest installment of Cleveland versus the Golden State Warriors / Part III and there's plenty to say regarding this Game 1 tilt but first this important reminder ...
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will bang out plenty of big-time Sides & Totals winners in this year's NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors beginning tonight -- plus there's Major-League Baseball winners every day as we zoom through the month of June. Just remember to call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or go online right here each/every day and cash in with huge winners. Make sure you're piling up the dough!
CLEVELAND at GOLDEN STATE - Game 1 at 9 p.m. ET, ABC
It's safe to say that the TV talking heads (see Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson) will be discussing the "rest versus rust" issue right at the very start of this series-opening game - heck, the Warriors have not played a game since May 22nd, for crying out loud - but don't necessarily think these teams will be off the mark here in Game 1.
Golden State's proven this post-season that it can sit for a few days at a time and still light things up and the fact that Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and/or Klay Thompson are "rhythm" shooters means nobody should be surprised if/when the Warriors go on one of those crazy scoring sprees here.
Naturally, Cav fans/backers are worried sick about the matchup situation here - even if you consider LeBron James to be a masterful defender the $64,000 question is here who does he guard? If James shadows the longer/leaner Durant, than Curry will be attempting more shots but if "The King" - as was the case for much of last year's Finals - guards Curry than Durant probably would be a major handful for Kevin Love or the occasional looks from Tristan Thompson.
Best bet here is that the Cavs want/need to overplay both Durant and Curry and thereby tempt Klay Thompson to beat 'em (remember he's struggled for major portions of this year's playoffs) but another part of G-State's Game 1 strategy is to have Draymond Green be the "traffic cop" in the middle and shovel the basketball out to the open man.
Finally, Cleveland needs the tandem of James and PG Kyrie Irving to chuck up 50 field-goal attempts plus Tyronn Lue's crew needs the normal production from Love and shooter J.R. Smith plus a "wild card" scorer must pop up and so don't be shocked if veteran Kyle Korver winds up with 12-to-15 FG tries here.
Now, will it all be enough to topple the 7-point favorite Warriors? Stay tuned.
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||CLEVELAND||+ 3.5||Golden St||109-108|
|1-16||GOLDEN ST||- 9||Cleveland||126-91|
C'mon, did you really think heading into the month of June that the Houston Astros would be the odds-on favorite to make it to this year's World Series?
Here we are nearing the one-third mark of the here-and-now 2017 Major-League Baseball season and the 'Stros are 38-16 - really, 22 games over .500! - with a plus 90 in the runs differential category and just keep in mind that Houston's 16 runs scored in Monday's come-from-way-behind win in Minnesota was the second-most runs scored by the Astros this week (they won 17-6 at Target Field on Wednesday) and we'll knock you over with some more figures such as Houston's 18-6 on the road this year and averaging six-and-a-half runs per game in road outings.
Now, A.J. Hinch's crew rides a seven-game winning streak into this weekend's hyped series at Texas and - don't dare blink 'cause the 'Stros might wind up clinching the AL West by the Fourth of July at this rate!
In other quick-hitter MLB Notes ...
The Boston Red Sox have been big on-base percentage guys this year, but real low on power (rank dead last in the junior circuit in home runs) and maybe the return of 3B Pablo Sandoval will help - his return already paid dividends with last night's 4-1 rubber match win at the Chicago White Sox as "Panda" went 3-for-4 with a run scored and a run batted in. Can we maybe stop hearing from Bostonians about no more "Big Papi" David Ortiz? ...
Finally, is St. Louis Cardinals' closer Seung-Hwan Oh (12 saves in 14 opportunities) the best secret in all of baseball? The Cards' righthander struck out two hitters in last night's 2-1 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers and might be the single-most important player in this jumbled NL Central race this summer.
NOTE: Catch our NBA Finals Game 1 re-cap in tomorrow's jam-packed edition of Jim Sez.