Cleveland Cavaliers 64-35 (45-50 ATS) at Golden State Warriors 82-16 (51-44 ATS)
When and Where: Monday, June 12, ORACLE Arena, Oakland, Calif. 9:00pm EDT (ABC)
Spread: Golden State -9; Total: 231.5
The big story throughout the playoffs has seemed to be Golden State’s improbable run at a perfect 16-0 postseason. Cleveland put an end to all that noise on Friday night to the tune of 49 first-quarter points, and 86 points alone in the first half. The Cavaliers shattered the record books in several categories, including 24 3-pointers made, which is now an NBA finals record and just one shy of the all-time NBA record. The bad news for the Cavs is that they will have to do it again on Monday night in Oakland if they hope to keep the best-of-seven series alive. While the Warriors can no longer finish the playoffs perfect, they can still win their second NBA title in three years with a home victory at ORACLE Arena in Game 5.
Facing a 3-1 deficit heading into Game 5 last year, Cleveland reeled off three straight victories, two of which were on the road, to win the franchises first ever NBA Championship. In order to duplicate the feat, they will have to win four in a row this year and became the first team in league history to over a 3-0 hole in the postseason, and that includes any round of the playoffs, ever. The way Kyrie Irving and LeBron James Friday makes you think it may be possible, but keep in mind that the last two games the Cavs played in Oakland, they lost by a combined 41 points.
Irving finished the night with 40 points and made three of his four attempts from beyond the arc. King James messed around and got himself another triple double (his ninth NBA Finals double of his career), scoring 41 points, with 11 assists and 10 boards. Kevin Love had a solid night as well with 23 points of his own. The team as a whole shot over 53 percent from the floor as they temporarily fended off elimination. “I didn’t hear it, but some of the other guys heard it and told me that that they wanted to celebrate on our floor once again and they wanted to spray champagne in our locker rooms, and I think it came from Draymond (Green), which is OK, that’s Dray anyway,” James said.
After setting the NBA regular season win total last season with 73 wins, it seemed like a forgone conclusion that Golden State would cruise to their second consecutive NBA Title, but Cleveland had other thoughts, overcoming a 3-1 deficit to shock the Warriors. Many blamed Draymond Green for last year’s collapse after he was suspended for Game 5. After some touchy moments in Game 4, Green has promised to be on his best behavior for Game 5. Despite Cleveland’s record setting night, the Dubs did not play horribly in the 137-116 setback. Even with the Cavs’ record setting first half, Golden State found themselves down just 18 points, which is just a good couple minute run for a squad like the Warriors.
The team shot 44.8 percent form the floor, but made just 11 of their 29 shots from distance. Kevin Durant led the way with 35 points and four other players reached double figures, but none higher than Green’s 16 points. “The Splash Brothers,” Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were held to 14 and 13 points respectively. “Just one of those games,” Curry said. “Not going to overreact to one.” The squad has reveled in creating turnovers throughout the playoffs, but Cleveland took care of the ball and Curry led the squad with just two steals. KD added two blocks in the loss.
Golden State is:
People are quick to point out that the Cavs just looked like an all-star team in their win on Friday night, and the fact that they won Game 5 in Oakland a year ago. If you dig deeper though, Cleveland won that game against a team that did not have Draymond Green, nor did they have Kevin Durant. This time around, they will have both. Not to mention that there is pretty much no way that the Cavaliers can duplicate their performance from Game 4. Not just because they are on the road this time about, but because the probability is so low that there are not proper measurements for it. Look for this to be the final game of the NBA season and for Golden State to pull away in the second half to clinch the title.
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Last Updated: June 11, 2017
Chuck Dowling is a 30-something University of Florida J-School alum that lives in his mother’s basement. Just kidding... there are no basements in Florida (the ground is too moist). He has been in the “biz” for his entire adult life and specializes in NCAA football and basketball, as well as soccer, boxing, and MMA. When not writing, Chuck moonlights as a high school athletics radio and internet-television broadcaster.