The Cleveland Cavaliers, following a sweep in the Eastern Conference Finals of the Atlanta Hawks, are back in the 2015 NBA Finals for the first time since the 2006/07 season. The Cavs, lead by Lebron James, still await the winner of the Western Conference Finals between Golden State and Houston.
The Cavs completed a sweep of the Hawks on Tuesday night in front of a home crowd at Quicken Loans Arena. James, in a game that saw a lot of minutes go to bench players, lead all scorers with 23 points on 10 of 20 shooting. James also had nine rebounds (all defensive) and seven assists for what was a near double-double.
Cleveland’s well-rounded offensive attack featured five other players besides James scoring in double digits. Those players included Tristan Thompson (16) and J.R. Smith (18), two players that posted a double-double with 11 and 10 rebounds respectively.
Atlanta, despite enjoying a season to be remembered for their franchise, exited the post-season without much of a fight. Perhaps the Hawks were deflated after losing Kyle Korver to injury or perhaps Atlanta didn’t see much hope in coming back from 0-3. However in dropping a 30-point decision (118-88) the Hawks clearly limped out of the post-season and into the off-season.
The Cavaliers, a franchise that has never won the NBA championship, did exactly what they needed to do in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Cavaliers, despite qualifying for the championship series, are considered underdogs to win the championship at the moment. Betting odds still favor the Golden State Warriors (bet365) however, thanks to the sweep, the Cavs can now sit back for a bit and hope that the Western Conference Finals are lengthy.
Golden State currently lead that series 3-1 over Houston with game five coming from Oakland on Wednesday night. The Warriors, playing from home, are current heavy favorites to win that game (ie. -700 bet365). Even though the Rockets have proven to be a very difficult out this post-season, it appears as though Wednesday night will be their curtain call.
On head-to-heads Cleveland and Golden State are 1-1 against each other from the past regular season. Each team won when hosting the other so perhaps home court advantage will be something to cherish in the 2015 NBA Finals. Importantly, should Golden State eliminate Houston as anticipated, that advantage will belong to the Warriors.
For those wondering when Cleveland plays next, according to an article at NBA.com, June 4th is when the finals will begin with “no move-up” date.