The 2018 NBA Finals are finally here, and while we’re looking at the fourth-straight year of the Golden State Warriors vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers, the road to episode 4 was pretty interesting. The Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers arrived as contenders in the desperately-in-need-of-contenders Eastern Conference. The Houston Rockets proved that they are a legitimate problem for the Warriors moving forward, and between the likes of Jayson Tatum, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Donovan Mitchell, the future of the NBA is in good hands.
But here we are with the same NBA Finals for at least one more year. LeBron James carried what might be the worst team he’s ever played for to another Larry O’Brien opportunity, while the Golden State Warriors continued to Golden State Warrior all over the Western Conference, most recently without Andre Iguodala and a maybe-not-totally-healthy Stephen Curry.
I won’t sugarcoat it. The Warriors are heavy favorites in this series, as they should be, but as LeBron has proved time and time again, he’s not easy to beat in a 7 game series. And while the lack of ‘help’ LeBron has received from his teammates throughout the post-season has made his road back to the NBA Finals significantly more difficult, that same level of difficulty has put James in a position to seriously challenge Michael Jordan’s G.O.A.T. status. If he can overcome this Warriors team with this Cavaliers team, that has to impact the debate somewhere.
Yes, a large portion of NBA fans are tired of seeing the same two teams in the NBA Finals for the fourth-straight season, and I can sympathize with those feelings to some degree, but this is an NBA Finals with NBA history-altering implications if James can do it. I’m OK watching that.
Alright, enough preamble. Let’s get down to business. While the real-life NBA may be riddled with predictability, anything can happen in the world of 2K basketball. Does LeBron James take down the Golden State Warriors, thus achieving the biggest success of his NBA career? Do the Golden State Warriors win the NBA Finals and trigger a series of events that lead to LeBron James leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for a second time? In the real world, we’ll find that one out shortly, but we’re going to find out NBA 2K18’s prediction right now.
Without further ado, here’s what NBA 2K18 is predicting for the 2018 NBA Finals.
Game 1: Golden State Warriors 121, Cleveland Cavaliers 88
NBA 2K18 is expecting a blowout 121-88 win for the Golden State Warriors in Game 1. This isn’t terribly surprising. The Cavaliers haven’t been great for Game 1 throughout the postseason, with James admitting that Game 1 is usually a feel-out game for him. LeBron actually got some offensive help here, but you just aren’t going to win too many games when you’re giving up 121 points on the other end.
Game 2: Golden State Warriors 116, Cleveland Cavaliers 104
LeBron James got admirable help from Jeff Green and George Hill in Game 2, but had no answer for Klay Thompson and his 41-point explosion. Thompson hit 10-of-12 shots from beyond the three-point line which sounds absurd, but if you’ve played with Thompson in NBA 2K18, you know he’s got that in him. The Cavaliers played notably better in Game 2, but it just wasn’t enough.
Game 3: Cleveland Cavaliers 119, Golden State Warriors 115
It took a herculean 41-point performance from LeBron James, but the Cavaliers got back on track in Game 3. The Cavs defeated the Warriors 119-115 at home, with the series set at 2-1 heading into Game 4.
Game 4: Golden State Warriors 97, Cleveland Cavaliers 86
Despite the fact that the Cavaliers were able to hold the Warriors to under 100 points at home, the Cavaliers offense just couldn’t get rolling and the Warriors took a commanding 3-1 series lead heading back to Oracle. You can see where this is going.
Game 5: Cleveland Cavaliers 113, Golden State Warriors 81
The Cavaliers played their best game of the NBA 2K18 NBA Finals in Game 5. Facing elimination, Cleveland featured a balanced offensive attack, pouring 113 points on the Warriors defense while holding Golden State’s high-octane offense to just 81 points. To Game 6 we go with the series at 3-2 Golden State.
Game 6: Golden State Warriors 138, Cleveland Cavaliers 112
And there you have it. Despite the Cavaliers’ best effort to make this a series in Game 5, NBA 2K18 is predicting that the Golden State Warriors will win the 2018 NBA Finals in 6 games. I can’t say I blame it. Stephen Curry got his first NBA Finals MVP for good measure, and the Golden State Warriors dynasty rolls on.
NBA Finals MVP: Stephen Curry
For what it’s worth, we went ahead and simulated the offseason to see what LeBron James decides to do in free agency coming off a tough NBA Finals loss, and NBA 2K18 is predicting that James will re-sign in Cleveland for 1 year and $35.62 million. Congratulations, Cleveland. The King returns.