After beating the Thunder in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals on Monday night, 96-88, according to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.com the Golden State Warriors now have a 69% chance to repeat as NBA Champions.
The website, which uses a combination of its Elo model and CARMELO player rankings to offer NBA playoff result probabilities, gives the Cleveland Cavaliers a comparatively measly 31% chance to lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
Prior to Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals, the site gave the Thunder the best chances of winning the title at 44%. Now, the Warriors are back to the top of the rankings, as they were for the majority of the season.
Upon first glance, however, a 69% chance to win the Finals sounds high for any team, even the Warriors. Golden State is, of course, the best regular-season basketball team in NBA history, and they are riding an emotional high after escaping a 3-1 Western Conference Finals hole. Stephen Curry & co. also dominated the Cavs in the regular season, not to mention beat them in last year’s final in six games.
But this is the NBA Finals — the cliché that anything can happen is more true now than in any earlier round of the playoffs. And unlike last year, LeBron James has a healthy roster around him. Entering the Finals, the Cavs have lost just two games — in the far less-competitive Eastern Conference — compared to the Warriors’ five.
Silver’s site also gives the Warriors a 72% chance to win Game 1 in Oakland, favouring them by six points. That game tips off on June 2.
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