The 2015-16 NBA season has four sides remaining and they will be fighting it out to reach the finals. Continue reading for NBA Conference Finals Preview and Betting Tips.
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Golden State Warriors (1) vs Oklahoma City Thunder (3)
The Thunder shocked a lot of people when they were able to defeat the Spurs in the second round of the playoffs to reach the Conference finals for the fourth time in six years. They were blown away in the opening match of the series but they bounced back strongly and were able to clinch the series on their home court in six games. Russell Westbrook took his game to another level as he was dominant at scoring whilst he elevated his ability to create opportunities for his teammates. He will need to do this against the Warriors as they will need contributions from a lot of their role players if they are to stand a chance against the well-balanced Warriors. Kevin Durant will also have a lot on his shoulders and he will need to score at a high level and consistently to keep them in each match.
Andre Robertson had his best game as a professional in the Thunders clinching match against the Spurs as he showed a lot of effort throughout the contest, his shot was dropping and he was a constant hindrance on the defensive end. He will need to shut down Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry to the best of his ability, however Westbrook will spend the majority of the match defending Curry.
Steven Adams and Enes Kanter were strong together in the series against the Spurs as when they were partnered together they outscored their opponents by 27-points in 66 minutes whilst all other line-ups were outscored by 30-points in 220 minutes. These are incredible numbers which suggests a lot of success came when the two big men were on the floor together but whether that same tactic will work against the perimeter shooting and small line up of the Warriors will need to be determined.
The Warriors have been able to reach the Conference finals of the Western Conference without their two-time MVP Stephen Curry for the majority of the time. He had been out with an ankle injury and knee injury but returned in game 4 of their series against the Trail Blazers and he sparked the sides overtime victory scoring 15 of their 17 points in the 5-minute period. It took the superstar a while to regain his shot but he will be ready to go in this series despite not being 100%. Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green are under an injury cloud but they have been practicing and are expecting to take the court in game 1.
Golden State has the home court advantage after producing the best regular season record of all time. They are dominant in front of their home fans and they defeated the Thunder in all three meetings this season. It should be a terrific match up but we are backing the depth of the Warriors and their MVP Curry to lead them to the NBA Finals in six games.
Cleveland Cavaliers (1) vs Toronto Raptors (2)
These two teams will face off in the finals after taking a very different road to meet at the same place. The Cavaliers have been dominant throughout the post season and will be well rested after playing just eight games after remaining undefeated and are 8-0. Meanwhile the Toronto Raptors have played every match possible up until this stage as their series against the Pacers and Heat went the distance to seven games.
The Cavaliers blew their opponents off the park with their sharp shooting and they set new NBA records for three pointers made in a match and across a four game series. If they can remain this hot from behind the arc it will be incredibly difficult for the Raptors to cause an upset as the three point shooting opens up the lane for Kyrie Irving and Lebron James to drive to the hole and if the defence collapses they will find an open man and if the defence sticks to the open shooter then they will make the lay up. The Raptors defence will need to find a balance and hopes their shooting cools off as they were getting a lot of three pointers from a range of different players.
The Cavaliers have been able to avoid the disasters of injuries this playoffs and last year they still reached the finals despite losing Irving and Kevin Love. As the squad is full strength it has taken the load off James and he has been able to be patient and pick his spots to take over the game, which he has done in the fourth quarters of the matches that were close and led his side to victory.
However, the Raptors will be full of confidence after defeating two strong opponents in tough series and being able to come out on top. To boost the side, point guard Kyle Lowry has been able to regain the form that he had during the regular season that led his side to the second place in the Eastern Conference. Lowry slumped in the opening series and the first two games against the Heat but he was able to turn that around and he has regained his shooting touch, been able to get his team mates involved and was lock down in defence. If he can maintain that level and if Demar Derozan can lift his game, the Raptors will challenge the Cavaliers in this series.
In a blow to the Raptors chances, Jonas Valancuinas will be on the sidelines and Bismack Biyombo will be on the court in his place. He was able to be a solid contributor in the three games he started against the Heat but they were without Hassan Whiteside and incredibly vulnerable in the middle. The Cavaliers can put multiple looks against Biyombo and it will be hard for him to have a similar production.
The Cavaliers will be well rested and will advance to the finals as James reaches the feat for six straight seasons.
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Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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