Moore’s NBA Finals Predictions: Investing in the Garbage Time Warriors and More

Credit:

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Warriors guard Stephen Curry.

The case for Warriors (-12.5) in Game 1

This number just feels astronomical. It’s such an absurdly high line for a Finals game, and yet Golden State’s margin of victory at home is 16.3. The Rockets are a decidedly better team than the Cavs, and even they couldn’t duck getting blown out twice at Oracle. Oh, and the Cavs have a Net Rating of -5.6 on the road in these playoffs.

So, yeah, laying the 12.5 isn’t extreme.

The case for Cavs (+12.5)

Just for argument’s sake, though … the Warriors just haven’t looked right since that Rockets series began. There’s weird mojo with Kevin Durant. Some of the ISO-heavy offense was game planning by Golden State vs. Houston’s all-switch scheme, but some of it was just KD. He admitted he needed to get back to center in that series. That pretty much meant him taking a backseat to Steph Curry.

If Durant’s pride picks up again, the offense bogs down. Meanwhile, the Cavs have somehow figured out how to find a way through these playoffs. With the line this high, you can work yourself into believing LeBron James can slide into +12.5.

For the record, I picked the Warriors -12 a few days ago on The Action Network app.


Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The case for Over 214.5

The under is 2-0 on the road with the Cavs in these playoffs when the total is more than 210, but 3-6 in Cavs road games overall. The Cavs’ defense is so bad; it can’t be trusted to limit the Warriors. In fact, forget this number…

The case for the Warriors’ team total Over 113.5 (5Dimes)

Instead of trying to figure out whether Cleveland gets enough to tip the scale, just go with the Warriors’ offense vs. the Cavaliers’ defense. Cleveland has given up a 108 Defensive Rating on the road. That happened against Indiana and Boston, which both struggled mightily to score. The Raptors actually had the second-highest Offensive Rating in the second round of any team, they just gave up the highest Defensive Rating to Cleveland.

Factor in the Warriors’ Third Quarter Haymaker of Doom, and the way that the Warriors run it up in garbage time. To wit:

Last five minutes of Game 6 at Oracle vs. Rockets, Warriors’ Offensive Rating 155.6, Defensive Rating 56.3.

Last five minutes of Game 3 in Oracle vs. Rockets, Warriors’ Offensive Rating 167.8, Defensive Rating 70.

And finally …

The case for the Warriors in 5 (+165)

Golden State always gives a game now. The Warriors’ hunger is gone. Draymond Green has a shoulder injury, Andre Iguodala is banged up and Patrick McCaw is almost unplayable. The Warriors gave the Cavs one last year; they’ll do the same this year. Two of their three series wins this year have been Gentleman’s Sweeps.

The Warriors simply do not focus for every game. They don’t need to, and they know it. They let down after every impressive performance, and at this point, there’s no stopping it. They didn’t even bring it in the first half of Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. James is great enough to pull one, and you’re getting plus money that the Warriors dominate while LeBron keeps his dignity.

The battle for dignity: Welcome to the 2018 NBA Finals.


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