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The NBA Finals are scheduled to begin a week from Thursday, on June 4, but there was talk over the Memorial Day weekend that the start might be pushed up a couple of days to June 2 if both Conference Finals resulted in 4 game sweeps. That fell through.

The eventuality was possible on the morning of Memorial Day as Golden State was ahead of Houston 3 games to none in the Western Conference and Cleveland was in the same situation in the East, leading Atlanta.

Both series could be over by the time many of you are reading this as the Warriors were favored at Houston on Monday night while the Cavaliers were favored at home for Tuesday night’s game against the Hawks.

While both series may end in sweeps the logistics of moving a series that has been set to begin on a certain date mads the likelihood of the Finals starting next Tuesday, rather than Thursday, no better than 50/50. But that’s now a moot point.

If both series do end in four game sweeps, both teams will have extended rest prior to the start of the Finals next Thursday. The Warriors will have had 9 days of rest, the Cavs 8.

The big stories coming out of the weekend surrounded the series between the Cavs and the Hawks. Cleveland’s LeBron James continued to move up several lists involving personal career Playoff accomplishments. But the top story concerned a controversial Flagrant 2 foul call on Atlanta’s Al Horford that resulted in his ejection in the second quarter and could have resulted in his suspension for what might be the final game of the series on Tuesday night.

Already shorthanded with the loss to injury of Kyle Korver in Game 2 and Thabo Sefolosha late in the regular season the Hawks managed to play a gritty game in Sunday night’s overtime loss in which they rallied late and had several chances to win the game and make this a series. But if the league reviews the play and decides the officials were correct and Horford misses Game 4 it would be a huge accomplishment if the Hawks were to win and force a fifth game.

No NBA team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit in the playoffs and the shorthanded Hawks almost certainly won’t be the first.

Nor will the Houston Rockets although their competitiveness in losing the first two games in the Western Conference Finals game some hope that they might be able to extend the Warriors. Late rallies in the first two games at Golden State resulted in losses by 4 and 1 point as the series headed to Houston for Game 3.

Golden State, in a game that closed around pick ‘em at the sports books largely as a reaction to Houston’s performance in covering the first two games, took control early and won by 35 points. The 115-80 win was their most decisive win of the playoffs as the Warriors improved to 11-2 SU in the post season (but just 6-7 ATS). Heading into Tuesday’s potential series clincher Golden State had won 6 games in a row and will be favored over Cleveland in the NBA Finals.

It will be interesting to see by what price the Warriors are favored as the prolonged rest will allow for Kyrie Irving to recover from his nagging knee injury that sidelined him for much of the Atlanta series. That and the fact James will be making a fifth straight trip to the NBA Finals whereas the Warriors are back for the first time in 40 years makes this a compelling matchup both from an on-the-court matchups perspective as well as from the wagering perspective.

Barring an unprecedented turn of events next week’s column shall preview that NBA Finals matchup once it has been finalized and the series and opening game prices have been set.

Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to Gaming Today readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Contact Andy at [email protected]

About the Author

Andy Iskoe

Owner and author of “The Logical Approach,” Andy Iskoe has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football.

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