5 things to watch in the NBA Finals


There will be no love lost between these teams, especially after Green, whose Game Five suspension in the 2016 Finals was considered by many to be the turning point, said last November he wanted to "destroy" and "annihilate" the Cavs in a championship rematch. The Golden State Warriors face the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday in Oa. Now-after dropping last year's NBA Finals in seven games-the team is even more loaded thanks to the addition of forward Kevin Durant. Last year, he was famously suspended for Game 5, and that helped fuel Cleveland's rally.

Want your voice heard? Draymond Green, 27, talked some trash to LeBron during Game 4 of the 2016 Finals, and after hearing that King James didn't like it, Klay Thompson, 27, said it was "a man's league" and LeBron should suck it up. He leads the team with 28.6 points per game, and he's shooting 43.1 percent from behind the arc. The Warriors will be counting on Durant to lead the charge for redemption, which will also cement Durant's legacy as an all-time great.

Game 1 is Thursday at Oracle Arena, where the Cavaliers won their first championship previous year by becoming the first team to rally from a 3-1 deficit in the finals.

Based on James' other seven Finals appearances, this doesn't really matter much. But if his ankle at all is hurt or gets worse, and Steph Curry remains Steph Curry, that becomes a huge issue for the Cavs with no good alternative.

"You have to appreciate the position that you're in because it's never, ever guaranteed", Warriors guard Stephen Curry said.

The Warriors are 12-0 in these playoffs and 10-0 since Brown took the reins. The Warriors are favored, after all, just as they were previous year. Golden State won two years ago, when Cleveland was without the services of power forward Kevin Love and largely without star point guard Kyrie Irving. There have been times when LeBron James and company have looked unstoppable.

"I felt like when I got here, I could fill in some gaps, fill in some holes just in the way these guys approach the game and the level of seriousness it takes every single day", West said. James won his first National Basketball Association title five years ago at Durant's expense, and now Durant tries to get his first playing against James. The favorite in the opener of the NBA Finals has covered 11 of the past 12 years. To go win. Not just go to the finals.

Let's see: better team, Warriors; who limited mistakes: Warriors. "It's been working up to this point, so I can't change what I'm doing".

"They're going to challenge us offensively, defensively, mentally, physically".

Don't listen to all of the so-called "experts" who tell you that the Cavs are no match for the Durant-bolstered Warriors. So I'm going to split the difference. Ultimately, I think that wins out. The Warriors were a great Under bet in non-conference contests, with a 9-21 Over/Under mark.