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The Latest: About $5 million in bonus cash await NBA champs

May 31, 2018 - 4:32 pm
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Latest from the NBA Finals and Thursday's Game 1 (all times local):

3:40 p.m.

Cleveland and Golden State are playing for the following: The NBA championship, bragging rights, the chance to host a parade, rings, banners, cool hats and T-shirts.

And cash.

Game 1 of the NBA Finals tips off in about 3 hours and the league's playoff pool will richly reward the champion this year. The winning team in these NBA Finals will get $1,194,949 more in bonus money than the losing team in this matchup.

The total pool was $20 million this season, paid out to all 16 postseason teams based on how they finished in the regular season and how deep they went in the playoffs.

Golden State will get $5,188,122 if it wins, $3,993,173 if it loses. Cleveland splits $5,020,439 if it wins, $3,825,490 if it loses.

From the non-finals teams, Houston gets the biggest share of the pie, with $2,322,122 going to the Rockets. Milwaukee, San Antonio, Minnesota and Washington all get the smallest amount, that being $298,485 each.

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2:55 p.m.

The Warriors are bigger favorites in Game 1 of the NBA Finals than they were for most other home games this season.

Golden State was favored by 12 1/2 points as of Thursday morning. According to Pregame.com, the Warriors were favored by a margin that large in only 12 of their 50 games at Oracle Arena, counting the postseason.

The Warriors have won Game 1 in each of the previous three NBA Finals matchups with the Cavaliers, all at Oracle Arena, by an average of 15 points.

Overall, Pregame.com says the odds give Golden State an 89 percent chance to win the title, making the Cavaliers the biggest NBA Finals underdogs since Philadelphia against the Lakers in 2001. Los Angeles won that series in five games.

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2:10 p.m.

The G League is now a road to not just the NBA, but the NBA Finals.

There are a combined 11 players on the Cleveland and Golden State rosters that have spent time in the G League, and seven who were in that league at some point this season.

Many of those G League alums are likely to play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night. Kevon Looney, Shaun Livingston, Jordan Bell and Quinn Cook have been regulars for the Warriors in these playoffs, as has Jordan Clarkson been for the Cavaliers.

The NBA says 53 percent of the players on rosters at the end of the regular season were in the G League at some point.

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6 a.m.

The NBA Finals start up right where they finished last year.

And right where they've opened every year since 2015.

Golden State hosts Cleveland on Thursday night to begin the record fourth straight meeting between the teams. It's the first time in NBA, NFL, MLB or NHL history that the same teams are meeting four straight times in the championship round.

The Warriors have had home-court advantage each time and won Game 1 in all three series. They went on to win last year's title in five games.

Golden State will be without 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala as he continues to recover from a bone bruise in his left knee. The Cavaliers are waiting to see if Kevin Love will be cleared to play after missing Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals with a concussion.

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