NBA Finals predictions: CBS Sports picks for Cavaliers vs. Warriors Round 4

They climbed out of huge holes in the last two games of the Western Conference finals to beat Houston, but may have to play in the first half the way they have after halftime if they hope to knock off LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers and repeat as champions. It's unclear if the 2015 NBA Finals MVP will return for Game 1 on Thursday, but if he does it will give Golden State a boost in trying to slow down James.

D'Antoni did say he thought Paul could have helped Houston during Golden State's runs in Games 6 and 7.

To reach this point was no easy task for either Cleveland or Golden State.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James celebrates a play in Game 7 against the Boston Celtics on May 27. According to The Undefeated, he believes his team would've won the series if Paul didn't sustain a hamstring injury at the tail-end of Game 5. For reference, National Basketball Association games are roughly 100 possessions per game, meaning the Rockets were averaging roughly.8 fewer passes per possession.

Jack Maloney: The Warriors could probably win this in four games without too much trouble considering the wide talent gap between these two teams.

With everything on the line, the defending champs seemed to lack a sense of urgency coming into the Toyota Center on Monday, trailing by as many as 15 in the first half before cutting the deficit to 11 at halftime.

Love has struggled mightily against the Warriors on the NBA's biggest stage.

Take a look through the gallery to reveal the 2018 NBA Finals schedule.

Love has struggled throughout the post-season, averaging just 13.9 points per game on 38.8% shooting from the field, a sharp drop off from the 17.6 points on 45.8% shooting and 9.3 rebounds he averaged per game during the regular season. As in, LeBron James may be king, but Steph Curry clearly rules. "We feel like we're really close ... so I'm obviously optimistic because of the guys we're dealing with, and they're winners". He's going up against a great team with FOUR superb players.

Or perhaps that disengagement manifests into offensive stagnation on one end of the court and opportunities for the Cavs on the other end. Those, by in large, came against the Toronto Raptors in the second round when Love scored more than 20 points on at least 50 percent shooting three times. By comparison, Cleveland was 5/2 previous year, while the first two installments of the Finals against the Warriors had the Cavs at 19/10 and 9/5 underdogs in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Cleveland lost both contests.

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