NBA Western Conference Final Game 1 Preview
NBA Eastern Conference Final Game Odds & Prediction
By Dan Favale
Golden State Warriors (-7.5) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (+7.5)
Do the Oklahoma City Thunder rank as a legitimate challange for the Golden State Warriors? Yes. Should that change how you view the Warriors at all when they are playing at home, in front of the Oracle Arena crowd? Not in the slightest.
Even though the Thunder played the Warriors tight during all three of their regular-season meetings, they failed to lose by fewer than eight points during either of their two trips to Oakland. That matters.
So, too, does the fact that they just wrapped up a grueling, albeit decisive, six-game set with the San Antonio Spurs. The Warriors have enjoyed far more rest, and Stephen Curry is now two games into his return, both of which saw him catch fire when it mattered most, in the fourth quarter and overtime.
The Warriors are also perfectly built to marginalize the Thunder’s greatest strength in this series: their size. They killed the Spurs on the boards and could do the same to the Warriors. But Golden State will force Oklahoma City to tinker with the roation. Head coach Billy Donovan, after all, cannot expect one of Serge Ibaka, Enes Kanter or Steven Adams to keep pace with Draymond Green at the center position.
Indeed, most of these games should be close. And the Warriors only just snuck past the Portland Trail Blazers at Oracle Arena in their last outing. But for the larger part of this season they have been home locks, in a big way. Even if they aren’t able to pull away until the final minutes, they should still be able to pull away.
If the Thunder win or take this down to the wire in Game 1, there will be time to reconsider our stance on investing in the Warriors’ sizable home court spreads. For now, sticking with Golden State is the most sensible bet.
The Pick: Warriors (-7.5)
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