The numberFire Analysts Predict the NBA Finals' Winner
Our algorithm likes the Warriors. A lot.
But not all of our NBA writers and analysts agree.
Game 1 of the 2016 NBA Finals is set to tip off tonight, but before you sit down on your couch and enjoy an adult beverage while watching the Curry-LeBron show, take a look at how our staff thinks this series will go down.
Brandon Gdula: Cavaliers in 6
The Warriors just played what they considered their NBA Finals, but the Cavs have been eyeing this matchup all season. LeBron will be the best player on the floor in this matchup this time around.
Russell Peddle: Cavaliers in 7
I might be going against the grain here, but the Warriors struggled on the road against the Thunder and looked vulnerable at home. Two straight Finals appearances and the hunt for 73 wins sandwiched in between might be catching up to Golden State, while the Cavaliers have had the benefit of a fairly easy road to this rematch. LeBron's legacy narrative and what his winning a championship for Cleveland against an all-time great team would do for it is too juicy of a storyline to root against.
Nik Bonaddio: Warriors in 6
LeBron can flat steal a game on his own, particularly if he enters Jeremy Roenick NHL '94 bossmode like he did last year., There also may be a game where the Warriors are off, so I'll add another there.
The difference here is that to win the Cavs need to be perfect, whereas the Warriors can play like [expletive] and just get hot at the end.
The real question if you ask me: who wins more, the Cavs in this series or the Browns all year?
Keith Goldner: Warriors in 7
The Warriors are a few points better on both sides of the ball, and Steph is the best player in the world right now. For the Cavs to win, Steph will need to regress (which doesn't look likely) and LeBron needs to play like he did his Final two years in Miami (120-plus Offensive Rating at over 30% usage).
Sam Hauss: Warriors in 6
Home-court advantage plays a huge role in this series, as the Warriors (39-2) and Cavaliers (33-8) had the second- and third-best home records in the NBA this season. The Cavaliers’ backcourt is just not strong enough defensively to slow down the Splash Brothers, who should have little trouble dominating this series.
Shae Cronin: Warriors in 7
The selfish hoops fan in me will pray for seven games so we can soak it all up, but a better performance from Curry in this series than what we saw in his last seven games, along with the versatility of Golden State on both ends and a sprinkle of Harrison Barnes' improvement edges out Cleveland to give us a repeat champ in the Warriors. And for prop bets: Give me Draymond Green to collect Finals MVP hardware.
Josh Levinson: Cavaliers in 7
LeBron is on a mission and doesn't lose to the same team twice.
Brett Oswalt: Cavaliers in 7
The Warriors' 14.0 turnovers per game in the playoffs will finally be the death of them. LeBron and company will take advantage, running the floor and ultimately outscoring the Dubs with their transition offense.
Derek Lynch: Warriors in 5
The Cavaliers have been the best offensive team thus far in the playoffs, but the Cavs have no match for the Splash Brothers on the defensive end. Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, and Channing Frye can't guard, and that will be Cleveland's undoing.
Mike Hurley: Warriors in 7
Many believe that the Cavaliers haven’t been tested in these playoffs to give the Warriors a fight, but I’m not buying that. The Cavs have been unstoppable with rest dating back to the regular season and throughout the playoffs, and the Warriors just wrapped up a grueling series with the Thunder. These factors will lead to a lengthy series, with the Warriors ultimately coming out on top.
Alex McDonald: Warriors in 6
The series will be interesting because the Warriors are at their best when they play with a small lineup, and the Cavaliers are at their best with a big lineup. Two key players for the Warriors this series will be Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala. Green was anything but great in the series against Oklahoma City, but he draws a much better match up against Cleveland. Iguodala will play a crucial role as he tries to keep LeBron James in check.
Dale Redman: Warriors in 6
LeBron will singlehandedly steal a game or two, but ultimately the atrocious defense from Love and Irving will lead to too many open looks and easy baskets for the Warriors.
Jesse Scudilla: Warriors in 6
Golden State will have an easier time exploiting Cleveland's big men than they did against OKC, which will allow them to put up the monster offensive numbers we're used to seeing. Cleveland will have a couple of games where the offense is clicking, but this is Golden State's year.