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The Sports Daily
Who Will Win the 2017 NBA Championship?

With the NBA Playoffs officially underway, it’s time to take a look at the field of contenders and try to decipher which team figures to walk off with the rings and trophy. The action is fast and furious with tipsters offering free NBA picks along with the release of NBA expert tips and picks for a fee.

It doesn’t take a great sports handicapper to come to the conclusion that the Golden State Warriors are most deserving favorites to take the title. For the third year is a row, they claimed the best record in the NBA at 67-15. They also had the longest winning streak put up during the season at 14 games. Amazingly, a good part of that run came with All-Star Forward Kevin Durant on the bench with an injury.

To the chagrin of the rest of the league’s playoff contestants, Durant has made it back for the playoffs and looks ready to go. With Durant, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson firing on all cylinders, the Warriors could well walk away with its second title in three years. However, there are three issues that could stand in the team’s way.

First, power forward Draymond Green still has a propensity for having meltdowns on the court. At times, it seems uncontrollable. When it happens, it tends to disrupt the team’s flow on the court. It happened last year in the finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers and guess which team walked off with the title? The Cavs. As the team’s only legitimate defensive stopper and rebounder, the Warriors need him on the floor, not sitting in the commissioner’s office trying to explain his on-court behavior.

The second obstacle could well be the same Cleveland Cavaliers that took the rings and trophy last year. With all due respect for the San Antonio Spurs, they just don’t match up well with the Warriors, which makes it difficult projecting them to get beyond the Western Conference title series. Kawhi Leonard has turned into a tremendous basketball player, but age and depth remain issues the Spurs don’t seem prepared to overcome.

While the Cavs may not necessarily match up well with the Warriors either, they do have a three-headed monster (Lerbon James/Kevin Love/Kyrie Irving) that is more than capable of getting hot and staying hot. During the regular season, the team seemed uninterested at times. They struggled on the court and eventually lost the Eastern Conference top seed to the Boston Celtics. Still, the Cavaliers are the defending champions and they come back with the same team that caused the Warriors nightmares over the last three games of last year’s championship series. The overriding question from last year’s series was Curry’s health.

That brings us to the third issue. The Warriors need to stay healthy. Curry has a history of knee problems that can derail the team’s momentum at a moment’s notice. He struggled against the Cavs last year because he couldn’t move without the ball, which took the entire team out of its game. He’s healthy right now, but fans are surely holding their collective breaths. As for Durant, he’s been back for four games now and looks no worse for wear. However, the injury was significant enough to cost him 20 games. He needs to stay healthy to help match up against the dreaded Cavaliers.

Most NBA expert tips and picks seem reluctant to go against the Warriors. If healthy, they seem unbeatable in a 7-game series. For free NBA picks, gamblers should be on the lookout for tipsters who are getting hot at the right time. The pick: Warriors