The Cleveland Cavaliers enter this year’s NBA Finals as a rare combination. The Cavs are both the defending champions and also heavy underdogs to a Golden State team that they defeated last year. The Cavaliers’ underdog status doesn’t come as a surprise — the Warriors have been the title favorites all season — but it is a bit unusual for the defending champs, with pretty much the same key players, to find themselves as significant underdogs to anyone.
The addition of Kevin Durant to the Warriors precipitated their rise to heavy favorites this season, and their 12-0 performance through the first three rounds of the playoffs has done nothing to dissuade sports-books from making them the prohibitive favorites against LeBron James and the Cavs. However, Cleveland doesn’t plan on leaning into the role of underdogs, and as Kevin Love told Tom Withers of the Associated Press, the Cavs find it a bit funny that they are regarded as underdogs.