The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers are entering their fourth consecutive NBA Finals with injury concerns.
Cleveland’s Kevin Love is in the concussion protocol and must complete a series of tests before he’s cleared to return, and Golden State’s Andre Iguodala, a former Finals MVP, wasn’t able to finish the conference finals because of a bone bruise in his leg.
The Warriors hoped Iguodala would return to that series, but his progress stalled.
“Not an easy injury to predict in terms of recovery,” coach Steve Kerr said.
There wasn’t a lot of similarity in Cleveland’s and Golden State’s seasons, but their last few days have been mirror images of each other — both teams had to win Game 6s at home to fend off elimination, then had to go on the road and prevail in Game 7s.
“One of the most challenging seasons I’ve had,” said LeBron James, who may be playing the best ball of his life at the end of his 15th season.
Besides James, Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue will count on four players who have been around since they first met the Warriors in the 2015 Finals.
And because they won a championship in 2016, the core four of James, Love, JR Smith and Tristan Thompson share something special.
“Just having these guys here who have been through it, been through the tough times, been through the great times as well, this is a bond that can’t be broken,” Lue said. “Just reminds me a lot of guys I played with back in the day when you see Horace Grant, Robert Horry, Derek Fisher. Just something about winning a championship with those guys that you will never forget.”
76ers extend Brown
The Philadelphia 76ers and coach Brett Brown agreed to a three-year contract extension through 2021-22, according to reports.
Brown took the 76ers from 10 wins to the third seed in the East in two seasons, making the playoffs for the first time since 2012. The news came the day of a report that 76ers president Bryan Colangelo used secret Twitter accounts to criticize his own players and rival executives.
Long odds for Cavs
The odds are longer than a Stephen Curry three-pointer, Kevin Durant’s wingspan or Draymond Green’s catalog of technical fouls.
James and the Cavaliers are being given little or no chance against the Warriors, who have been installed by Las Vegas bookmakers as the heaviest favorites in 16 years.
The Warriors are 12-point favorites to win Game 1, the largest spread in a Finals game since 1991, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Speaking of bad bet
Cleveland Browns safety Damarious Randall pledged on Twitter that if the Cavaliers upset the Warriors, he would buy a jersey for anyone who retweeted his post. As of Tuesday night, his message had been retweeted almost 600,000 times.