NBA Finals 2018: Under-the-radar players to watch for Cavs-Warriors

Lebron James Kevin Durant Cavaliers Warriors

The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers will meet in the NBA Finals for the fourth straight season.

The online sportsbook Bovada released its initial betting lines for what team James will open on in the 2018-19 National Basketball Association season.

Winning another championship now, leading this group of Cavaliers past a much mightier Golden State team, might even be a bigger challenge.

I'm not here to disagree with that assessment. Without the departed Kyrie Irving and injured Kevin Love (concussion) in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, James had 35 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists while playing all 48 minutes as Cleveland eliminated the Boston Celtics 87-79 on Sunday. You've got to play. Las Vegas oddsmakers have the Warriors as the biggest NBA Finals favourites since 2002.

The Warriors sure could use his presence against King James, who is making an eighth straight Finals appearance. Both coaches pushed the right buttons when their teams were pushed to the brink in earlier rounds, but Kerr just has more of them at his disposal. They will annoy the man as much as they can, and in the process, they will save Klay Thompson and Green a foul or two. Those are two solid options. Definitely glad we're playing still, but we want to finish the job. The Cavs had a very up-and-down regular season, especially before the trade deadline, but James' frustrations with the Cavs can be traced all the way back to the summer. Game 7 of the Western Conference finals drew a peak audience of 18 million viewers on TNT.

It's also reasonable to be indifferent about the situation.

"But they are clearly the favorite, without question, but the luxury of having the best player in the world in that situation, anything can happen".

Starting point guard George Hill was a massive upgrade over Isaiah Thomas, who was a sieve on the defensive end. "It doesn't matter who plays, step up". As the Cavaliers struggled to find any semblance of consistency, superstar LeBron James wondered whether a playoff berth was even in the cards.

That's why everybody on the Warriors realizes it will be a joint effort guarding James. They made tough shots. They're not the Rockets - not by a longshot - but as Houston proved in the Western Conference Finals, there's a benefit to switching everything and being super physical on defense when going up against the Warriors.

The Warriors are now listed as an overwhelming -960 favorite (bet $960 to win $100) to defeat the Cavaliers and capture their third title in four years, according to OddsShark. The Warriors have to take that seriously.

This season, the Cavs will play the Warriors again in the NBA Finals and are severe underdogs after losing in five games last season. So, then what does that do to them?

Everything ended up working out for the Cavs. Perhaps the Warriors let the Cavs into a series by not establishing themselves in Game 1.

Mbah a Moute just finished up a one-year, $2.1 million deal and hopefully they can squeeze him in with roughly the same pact as this past season.

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