James has marked the start of the postseason with his now traditional social media lockdown, preferring instead to turn his attention exclusively to the task of leading his team through the playoffs.
Meanwhile, Paul proved his regular-season prowess in averaging 18.6 points and almost eight assists despite sharing ball-handling duties with Harden. The over-under is set at 206 points. But the Cavaliers don't defend well enough and can be picked apart by top offenses, so go with the West champion to win the title, particularly if it's Golden State or Houston. Check out our NBA Public Betting Page for up-to-date information. It would be the largest deal in National Basketball Association history if San Antonio forward Kawhi Leonard doesn't sign a super max this summer.
Leonard may or may not play this series - he was officially ruled out for Game 1 - but almost everything about his injury has been odd.
Curry, sidelined since March 23, suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his first game back from an ankle injury and is progressing on schedule in his rehab from the injury. There is a chance he returns at some point this series, but time is obviously running short and I wouldn't exactly count on it.
While Donovan Mitchell received a lot of the headlines - thanks in part to his off-the-court attire - Rudy Gobert's efforts at both ends of the floor is likely to have a far bigger impact on this series. San Antonio was 29-15 after that game, but just 18-20 afterward. Spurs games have a slight tendency to go under the O/U total (52.4 percent).
"I always knew everybody on our team had a good spirit, a good energy for the game", said Durant, the reigning NBA Finals MVP. His last game was on January 13 and there's no indication the team will bring him back for the playoffs. But Curry's absence will force Durant to be more aggressive. For the Warriors, that load falls onto Kevin Durant, easily the number one scoring option. My prediction is a 40-10-8 game.
In their last five games, San Antonio is 1-4 ATS with 4 overs and 1 under.
If a team succeeds in winning the first four matches, then matches 5 to 7 will not be required. "But when you see a guy like that, first in the gym and last to leave, he's always getting better and supporting his teammates", said Cook, one of Durant's childhood friends since growing up together in the Washington, D.C., area.
During the Thunder's game against Memphis on Wednesday, Davis said point guard Russell Westbrook was "out of his cotton-pickin' mind" after Westbrook tallied an assist en route to averaging a triple-double for the second consecutive season.
The Golden State Warriors are entering this first-round series without their best player, but that does not mean that their strategy will be drastically different. And if he rushes back, he certainly won't be at 100 percent. The Warriors have been there and done that, while the Rockets were worn out last season by the time they reached the conference semifinals and fell to San Antonio. Look for Aldridge to make a huge impact and the Spurs to stay within the eight points even if they don't record the straight up upset victory.
It was clear early on this season that Leonard would need to miss more time than previously anticipated.