Kevin Love cleared to play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals


OAKLAND -- For the fourth year in a row, the Warriors and Cavaliers will meet to decide NBA supremacy, beginning with Game 1 Thursday night at Oracle Arena.

Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4 p.m., with postgame coverage immediately following the ABC telecast. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

The Warriors have won two of three previous Finals meetings, taking home the Larry O’Brien trophy in 2015 and 2017, with the Cavaliers prevailing in 2016.


Warriors by 13


Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James: It’s a rematch of two of the top five players in the NBA. Durant won the battle last year, taking home the Finals MVP trophy after the Warriors won in five games. James is having a phenomenal postseason, performing at an extremely high level while willing his team to The Finals. If Durant even comes close to offsetting James’ performance, it’s a huge win for the Warriors.

[LISTEN: Warriors Outsiders Podcast: NBA Finals preview; series/MVP predictions; Zaza to start?]


Warriors: F Andre Iguodala (L lateral contusion/bone bruise) is listed as out.

Cavaliers: F Kevin Love (concussion protocol) has been cleared to play.


Ken Mauer (crew chief), Tony Brothers, Ed Malloy, Tom Washington (alternate)


Warriors: Defeated San Antonio in five games in the first round, defeated New Orleans in five games in the conference semifinals, defeated Houston in seven games in the Western Conference Finals.

Cavaliers: Defeated Indiana in seven games in the first round, defeated Toronto in four games in the conference semifinals, defeated Boston in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals.


The Warriors won both meetings in the regular season, 99-92 on Dec. 25 at Oracle Arena and 118-108 on Jan. 15 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The Warriors won the 2015 Finals in six games, the Cavs took the 2016 Finals in seven and the Warriors triumphed in five games in the 2017 Finals.


THE PACE: The Warriors are at their best playing uptempo and will try to speed things up to take advantage of their depth and shooting. Of 16 playoff teams, the Cavs rank 15th in pace. They prefer to be deliberate in an effort to stay close and pick teams apart behind James, who is as equally proficient at passing and scoring.

THE OTHERS: While the Warriors have three players -- Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson -- that can score 30 on any given night, Cleveland’s secondary scorers are much more inconsistent. Only Love, at 13.9 points per game, is averaging more than 10 points. To stay close, the Cavs need more offensive support for James.

THE GLASS: Aside from James and perhaps their own complacency, a third significant factor for the Warriors is Cavaliers C Tristan Thompson climbing the offensive glass to get his teammates multiple opportunities to score. The Warriors don’t have to win this battle, but they can’t allow themselves to get owned.

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