ITS the NBA Finals and all eyes should be on the two superstars ahead of game one, Clevelands King Lebron James and Golden States sweet shooting NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry.
But the focus has shifted from that pair onto their respective understudies, Clevelands ($3.05 with Sportsbet.com.au) Kyrie Irving and Golden States ($1.42 with WilliamHill.com.au) Klay Thompson, with every one wondering if they will be healthy for the first game of the series.
Thompson copped a knee to the head from Houston Rockets swingman Trevor Ariza during the Warriors Western Conference Championship clinching game five win.
Thompson, who bled from the ear after the clash, suffered severe headaches in the days after the game, and was diagnosed with concussion, putting doubt over his ability to play in game one, due to the NBAs stringent concussion protocols.
But Thompson, who is averaging 19.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in 15 post season games this year, is expected to take the floor in game one, according to Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.
On the other side of the ledger, Irving, the Cavs mercurial point guard and second in command to Lebron, has suffered with knee tendinitis throughout the playoffs, putting him out of several games and limiting his effectiveness.
Hes still a must have player because he is a brilliant three point shooter, but which Kyrie will we see in game one?
The superb slasher who picks his way through opposing defences and gets into the lane at will, or the hobbled spot up shooter who stands in the corner and waits for the drive and dish?
That could be the difference, not just in game one, but in the series.
You couldnt say either side has really been tested on their road to the finals, the Warrior dropping only three games, while the Cavs just two.
So game one will be all about feeling out the opposition.
Theyre in different conferences, meaning they only met twice this season, Cleveland falling in Golden State without Lebron, before the Cavs turned the table thanks to a 42 point night from the King in Cleveland.
So its really hard to say who will have the tactical ascendency in this one.
Both sides will look to figure out exactly what the other is going to throw at them.
One thing is for sure, Golden State is favourite for plenty of very good reasons.
The Warriors won 67 games and have been the best team in the league all season.
They rarely lose on their home floor at Oracle Arena, having fallen just the once to Memphis in the conference semis.
Theyll ride the crowd, with obviously the main man being the superb MVP Curry, who has had a career season in every sense of the word.
Averaging nearly 30 points per game, 6.4 assists, nearly five boards and two steals, Curry has been doing it all for the Warriors.
He has hit a ridiculous 73 treys in just 15 playoff games at the absurd average of nearly five per game. And at the superb clip of nearly 44 per cent.
His shooting is a weapon that helped him break Reggie Millers playoff record of 58 threes that took 22 games in the 200 playoffs, Curry hit his 59th in his 13th game.
As he goes, the Warriors go, and were expecting him to go off in game one, despite the fact he could cop a tough assignment in wiry defender Iman Shumpert or Aussie boy Matthew Dellavedova.
While Curry and Thompson will give the Cavs fits, the Warriors have a variety of looks they can throw at Cleveland, with the versatile Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes and Andre Iguodala set to be called upon to carry the scoring load.
Another Aussie, Andrew Bogut, will play a key role in clogging up the middle and making life tough for the Cavs slashers on the interior, like James, Irving and JR Smith.
The Warriors live and die by the three, but so do the Cavs and this game, as with every other in the series, will be decided by which team shoots better oh, and a fella named Lebron.
Still the single greatest talent in the game, Lebron has been a monster in the playoffs, leading him to make the statement that he is playing better ball than at any other point in his career.
Now in his 12th season, Lebron has long been a complete player and is averaging a near triple double across these playoffs, with nearly 28 points, 10.4 rebounds, over eight assists, nearly two steals and a tick over a block.
If he goes off, it will go a long way to winning game one.
Game result: Golden State Warriors win ($1.42 with CrownBet.com.au)
Total match score: Over 198.5 ($1.62 with crownbet.com.au)
Suggested exotics: Tristan Thompson under 11.5 points ($1.87 with sportsbet.com.au)
Every time he makes a finals series, someone says Lebrons legacy is at stake. We dont know if thats the truth.
The guy is the best baller of this generation, but hes probably never going to be Michael. He should come to terms with that. And so should the basketball world.
The guy has two chips, albeit with a super team in Miami and, if he can lead the Cavs to the promised land in his firsts season back without one of the big three, the injured Kevin Love, then it certainly enhances his growing legacy. But, regardless of the result here, he is probably going to be remembered as a top five all time talent, when all is said and done.
Does he have the killer instinct to go out there and take game one on the Warriors floor? Well never write him off, but we think, if the Warriors play to their potential, theyre a more talented team, statistically better on both offence and defence than Cleveland.
Lots has to go wrong for them to lose game one, and plenty more has to go right for Cleveland to win it.
Were backing the Warriors to take it out and cover the six point line on their home floor.
Theres something nagging that this could be a low scoring affair, so were going with the safer match score of 198.5 with Crownbet.
Curry is tracking at nearly 30 points per game and over six dimes, so we would hope he can exceed the 34.5 set by Sportsbet there, while Thompson is not in the side to score, he rarely reaches double figures, so well back him to fall short of that 11.5 point total.