Warriors are big favorites in Las Vegas to capture title

The NBA playoff picture is set, but not much has changed from a year ago.

Waiting, again, are the Golden State Warriors with an eye on revenge. And, oh by the way, they led the league in a pair of defensive categories - blocks and steals - that adds critical possessions to their All-Star shooters, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Durant. But even if he wasn't available, the 2016 runners-up and 2015 champs are still title favorites.

Lee said, "We are going to kick off this year's playoff run with pride and remind everyone that San Francisco is Warriors' territory". I know it. It happens every year, and this year we might see two of them. By comparison, the team's follow-up performance after the catastrophic collapse in June did not quite "live up" to its predecessor, especially given the fact that this year's club included the addition of Kevin Durant. "This year, it's more businesslike".

The Cavs (7-2) and the Spurs (9-1) follow Golden State.

That's the big question bettors are pondering heading into the 2017 National Basketball Association playoffs, with the Warriors listed as strong -250 favorites (bet $250 to win $100) to be the best in the West again at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com as the top seed with home-court advantage throughout.

And lately, Cleveland hasn't rocked. After beating the Celtics in Boston to recapture the No 1 seed, the Cavaliers dropped their final four games and finished second in the conference.

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Still, James said following practice on Thursday, the Cavaliers "have a good chance to win it all". The Cavs are the favorite in the East, despite trailing the Boston Celtics in the regular season standings. They should be doubly on task after letting the Cleveland Cavaliers swipe their title away last spring.

No. 3 Toronto Raptors vs.

No. 4 Washington Wizards vs.

No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers vs.

Can anyone make waves in the West against Golden State? The Spurs always play smart and Kawhi Leonard will be quietly spectacular. With that said, Durant missed 20 games with injury and, for better or worse, it was violently clear that the Warriors were not as invested in simply achieving regular season success the second time around. Should the Rockets and Warriors reach the Western Conference Finals, Golden State had a 3-1 edge against Houston in the regular season. Outside the two MVP front-runners, though, the Rockets have a better supporting cast, and Harden is a (slightly) better facilitator who can help Houston win without scoring all of its points. The Rockets saw James Harden successfully transition to point guard and post the best numbers of his career with averages of 29.1 points, 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds. But we know better than to count out a man who just averaged a triple-double for an entire season.

Make no mistake: Everyone is chasing Golden State.

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