Cleveland Cavaliers (12-2 SU, 8-5-1 ATS, 9-5 O/U) vs. Golden State Warriors (13-0 SU, 9-4 ATS, 9-4 O/U)
NBA: Sunday, June 4, 2017, Oracle Arena, Oakland, California, 8 pm ET
Line: Golden State -9; Over/Under: 221
It’s Game 2 of the NBA Finals and one that may be considered a must-win for the team down in the series. The Cleveland Cavaliers travel west once again as they face the Golden State Warriors Sunday night. Golden State took the opening game of the series 113-91 at home Thursday night to remain unbeaten in the postseason. The Warriors have a 57-52 edge in the all-time regular season series: the team split two games this season, each winning at home. In the playoffs, Golden State has an 8-6 edge in head to head wins though each team has won one previous playoff series.
Cleveland rolled through the Eastern Conference playoffs but was treated rudely in Game 1 of the Finals. The Cavaliers can ill afford to go down 2-0 in the series so this is about as close to a must win as you’ll find this early in a best of seven. Cleveland trailed by eight at the half but was bombed in the third quarter to put the game away. The Cavaliers shot only 34.9 percent from the floor and hit 11 of 31 from three point range. Cleveland also turned the ball over 20 times, negating a 59-50 edge on the glass. LeBron James had 28 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists to lead the Cavaliers in a losing effort.
The Cavaliers come into this contest 2nd in the playoffs in scoring offense with 114.9 points per game. Cleveland is tied for 8th in rebounding with 42.9 per contest and 6th in assists by handing out 21.7 per game. The Cavaliers are 7th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 103.9 points per contest. LeBron James leads the team with 32.2 points plus 8.5 rebounds, 7.1 assists, two steals and 1.43 blocks a night. Kyrie Irving contributes 24.5 points plus 5.4 assists a game while Kevin Love puts up 17 points plus 11.1 rebounds per contest. The team would like to get more from Channing Frye, Kyle Korver, J.R. Smith, Deron Williams and Tristan Thompson. Cleveland is tied for 1st in field goal percentage during the postseason by shooting 49.5 percent from the field and is 1st by knocking down 14.4 triples per contest. The Cavaliers are first in three point shooting as they hit 42.9 percent from beyond the arc.
No NBA team has run the table in the postseason yet the Warriors stand just three victories away from that feat after romping in Game 1. The Warriors look to make it 14 straight playoff victories with a triumph here to take a 2-0 series lead. Golden State pulled away from an eight point halftime edge by outscoring Cleveland 33-20 in the third quarter. The Warriors struggled shooting the ball as they hit only 42.5 percent from the floor, including 12 of 33 from long range. Golden State had a massive advantage in turnovers, forcing 20 Cleveland miscues while committing only four of their own. Kevin Durant had 38 points, eight rebounds and eight assists to lead the Warriors.
The Warriors come into this one #1 among postseason teams in scoring with 117.9 points per game. Golden State stands 2nd in rebounding with 46.1 per contest. The Warriors are first in the playoffs by dishing out 28 assists a night. Golden State is decent defensively as they are 3rd in scoring defense, allowing 101.2 points a night. Kevin Durant is the team’s second leading scorer in the postseason, posting 26.4 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Stephen Curry adds a team high 28.5 points plus 5.9 assists while Klay Thompson contributes 13.8 points a night. Draymond Green is chipping in with 13.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 1.92 steals and two blocks per game in the postseason. Zaza Pachulia, Andre Iguodala, David West and Shaun Livingston are key complementary pieces for the Warriors’ rotation. The Warriors are tied for first in the playoffs, shooting 49.5 percent from the floor as a team. Golden State is 4th with 12.1 triples a night while the team stands 4th by sinking 38.7 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc.
One hopes that Cavs-Warriors III will be as entertaining as the first two series were with the NBA title at stake. The problem for Cleveland is that while they have their big three, Golden State has a quartet of aces in their arsenal. James can’t simply carry the team on his back and will them to a win and there is no easy way to defend the Warriors. Smith did next to nothing for the Cavaliers in Game 1 and neither did the bench group. Golden State has too much talent and until Cleveland shows otherwise, you have to lean against them here. The Warriors take a 2-0 lead as they win by double digits.
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Last Updated: June 3, 2017
Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.