Golden State Warriors 81-15 (50-43 ATS) at Cleveland Cavaliers 63-44 (44-49 ATS)
When and Where: Wednesday, June 7, Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio 9:00pm EDT (ABC)
Spread: Golden State -3; Total: 226.5
The Cavaliers find themselves in a familiar position. Just like last year, they have dropped the first two NBA Finals games on the road, and find themselves down 2-0 to the Warriors in the best-of-seven series. Last year, of course, Cleveland was able to overcome the deficit and win the Larry O’Brien Trophy in seven games. Of course the difference this time around, is that Golden State now has Kevin Durant on the team. The Cavs defensive plan for Game 1 seemed to be to let KD wear himself out dunking the basketball. Whatever defensive adjustments the squad made for Game 2 did not work out in their favor as they allowed the Dubs to score 132 points, including 40 in the first quarter alone. Game 3 shifts the series back to Cleveland, where the Cavaliers started their comeback last season. If they have any hopes of doing the game this year, a victory is pretty much mandatory.
Warriors Will Not be Stopped
Golden State’s 132-113 win in Game 2 was an NBA record-setting 14th consecutive postseason victory. Their 18 made 3-pointers was also an NBA record, one that they previously held, having made 17 in a Finals game last year. Stephen Curry also matched Lebron James effort with his first career postseason double-double. With two more straight wins, they can set another record by becoming the first team in NBA history to go through the playoffs a perfect 16-0.
Curry would finish the night with 32 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists but he refused to take all of the credit, stating, “A lot of positives. A total team effort tonight with how we played and withstood their first punch coming out.” Kevin Durant led the way for his team, dropping 33 points on the Cavs, and adding 13 rebounds to complete the double-double. Durant also was 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. Steve Kerr returned to the sideline for the first time in 11 games to watch his team block seven shots and win despite committing 20 turnovers.
Cavaliers Cannot Afford to Lose
While Cleveland overcoming a 3-1 deficit in last year’s finals was a rare feat, no team has ever overcome a 3-0 hole to win the NBA Finals, and the Cavaliers do not want to try to be the first one. That can be avoided if they can duplicate last year’s Game 3 victory at home, but it will be a tall task with the Warriors running like a finely tuned machine. One thing working in their favor is that they do have the best basketball player on the planet in LeBron James, but he can only do so much.
King James had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and 14 assists in the loss. The triple-double was the eighth of his career in the playoffs, tying Magic Johnson’s record. Despite the final score, the Cavs trailed just 86-82 with 5:41 remaining in the third quarter before folding down the stretch. “They play well at home,” Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue said of the Warriors. “They won their first two games like they’re supposed to. We get a chance to go home now to our home crowd, where we play well also. We got to go home and regroup.”
Golden State is:
- 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600
- 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record
- 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up win of more than 10 points
- 11-0 ATS in their last 11 road games
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall
- 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up loss
- 0-6-1 ATS in their last 7 vs. Western Conference
- 0-5 ATS in their last 5 vs. NBA Pacific
The line for this game opened up with Cleveland being a two-point favorite. Of course, that line came out before Game 1 was even played. After two convincing victories by the Warriors, the line has swung a full five points to favor Golden State by three. It makes since considering we should see the Cavaliers best effort thus far, but what else can they really do? It is not like the offense played poorly last game, but they just do not have the firepower to keep up with the Warriors. And really, who does? The Dubs have now won 29 of their last 30 games and look virtually unstoppable. What once looked like a collision course between two great teams has now turned into one great team just steamrolling anybody in their way.
Pick: Golden State -3
The Over is 7-1 the last eight times the Warriors have hit the road, and 7-0 the last seven times the Cavs have returned home after a road trip of a week or more. But in reality, they have not been on the road for a week. They had six days rest after thier semifinals victory over the Celtics and then lost two games in four days in Oakland. The more important stat is that the Under has hit in four of the last five meetings between these two teams, and with the Warriors headed to the road for the first time int he series, their offense should not be as potent.