What Are the Odds Cleveland and Golden State Meet Up in the Finals?
On Sunday afternoon, the Cleveland Cavaliers wrapped up their second round matchup with the Toronto Raptors. In the Game 4 win, LeBron James scored 30 points for the sixth straight game -- the longest streak of his postseason career.
On the other side of the playoff bracket, the Golden State Warriors weren't far behind as they completed their sweep of the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City Monday night. They had three wire-to-wire wins, making them the first team to do so within the past 20 postseasons. In total, according to NBA.com, their point differential of plus-132 through eight games is the fifth-best in NBA playoff history through eight games.
Both the Cavs and Warriors made quick work of their Round 2 opponents, winning by an average of 15.3 and 15.0 points per game.
Because both teams have won all eight of their respective games, this marks the first time in NBA history that two teams have started off the same playoff season with an 8-0 record.
This has put the Warriors and Cavaliers in great positions as they head into the Western and Eastern Conference Finals.
How likely are the two to make it out of the conference finals? What's the likelihood that they meet for a third straight Finals matchup?
|Warriors in the Finals||70.01%|
|Cavaliers in the Finals||55.12%|
According to our algorithms, the Warriors' probability of advancing to the Finals is more than three times that of the San Antonio Spurs' (21.96%). In fact, they're the only team above the Cavs' mark of 55.12%.
Since both teams are favorites to represent their conferences, they're very likely to meet one another in the Finals. At a joint probability of 38.59%, another Cavs-Dubs clash is the Finals we are most likely to see. The next-highest scenario -- at 20.87% -- is that the Warriors and Boston Celtics emerge from the conference championship round.
As of May 9th, here is the probability for each potential Finals matchup.
|Finals Matchup||Joint Probability|
|Warriors vs. Cavaliers||38.59%|
|Warriors vs. Celtics||20.87%|
|Cavaliers vs. Spurs||12.10%|
|Warriors vs. Wizards||10.55%|
|Spurs vs. Celtics||6.55%|
|Cavaliers vs. Rockets||4.43%|
|Spurs vs. Wizards||3.31%|
|Celtics vs. Rockets||2.39%|
|Rockets vs. Wizards||1.21%|
Not so surprisingly, three of the four most likely matchups include the Warriors as representatives of the West.
Our models support the notion that Golden State is the team mostly to take the title (56.8%). Meanwhile, Cleveland ranks third overall behind the Spurs (15.97%) and first in the East with championship odds of 14.5% as they sit and await their next opponent.
Taking it a step further, what would happen if the Warriors and Cavaliers square off?
By our simulations, the Warriors would be big favorites. Despite the presence of LeBron and what transpired a year ago, we would expect them to win 79.76% of the time. And, of all possible outcomes, our numbers like a Golden State victory in 5. At 27.12%, the likelihood of that occurring is nearly 7% higher than Cleveland's overall odds to win the series outright.
The Warriors are just that good.