It all comes down to this, a winner-take-all NBA Finals Game 7 on Sunday. The defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors are going for back-to-back titles against a Cleveland Cavaliers team trying to become the first ever to rally back from a 3-1 deficit to win the championship.
The odds are against the Cavaliers completing the feat, though, as the Warriors are 4.5-point home favorites at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark.
Teams trailing 3-1 in the NBA Finals are 0-32 all-time in the series, but LeBron James has willed Cleveland to a seventh and deciding game with consecutive 41-point performances, the latest coming in a 115-101 win in Game 6 on Thursday.
The Cavaliers closed as two-point home favorites and have won the last two games by double digits since Golden State took Game 4 by a score of 108-97 as a 2.5-point road underdog June 10.
In fact, none of the six games so far have been decided by less than that 11-point margin, and the team with the reigning NBA MVP has won 18 straight Game 7s.
However, that streak could end considering how dominant James has been in this round for the second year in a row. The big difference this time is that James is shooting 51.4 percent and averaging 30.2 points, compared to 39.8 percent in 2015, when he scored 35.8 per game. Plus, he is getting more help.
The debate over MVP has never been more controversial between James and Stephen Curry, who has won the regular-season award the last two years. Curry is averaging 26 points in the series on 44.4 percent shooting, and he was ejected for the first time in his career late in Game 6 for throwing his mouthpiece after fouling out.
A monster effort from Curry in a Game 7 victory for the Warriors to make up for that could keep James from winning NBA Finals MVP despite the fact that he has once again been the best player for either team.
While James and Curry will be the focus of the media heading into Game 7, their teammates could decide who wins. For Cleveland, Kyrie Irving or Kevin Love will need to step up. Irving injured his foot in the second half of Game 6, and Love has been shockingly nonexistent in this series.
For Golden State, Klay Thompson needs to take pressure off Curry, and Draymond Green must stay focused and out of foul trouble.
The over cashed for totals bettors for the second time in the series in Game 6 after the under went 3-1-1 in the previous five, according to the Odds Shark NBA Database.
The Warriors won and covered the spread in all of those under games, so head coach Steve Kerr should emphasize playing much better defense while leaning on the NBA’s best home-court advantage. Golden State has won five straight over the Cavaliers when the total goes under.