Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors
Date and Time: Sunday, June 4, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
Cavaliers vs. Warriors TV Coverage: ABC
If the Cavs figure out how to value the basketball and defend Kevin Durant, they could make this a series. Game 1 was close throughout the first half, but the Cavs allowed the Warriors to slowly pull away by continually being careless with the rock. They committed half of their 20 turnovers in the second quarter and the score could have been closer than the 60-52 margin at the break. Their inability to hold onto the ball early in the third led to a 13-0 Dubs run and the game was over.
Once again James had an impressive stat line. He tallied a double-double by halftime and finished with 28 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists. But he was the most careless Cavalier with the basketball committing eight turnovers. The Cavs shot a putrid 35 percent and got zero help from their role players. Love scored 15 points but was just 4 of 13 shooting. James, Love and Kyrie Irving scored 67 of their 91 points and even more is needed for a Game 2 win.
The Dubs dominance in this postseason continued and it looks like Durant really wants to win a championship. In his first Finals game since 2012, KD was a monster scoring 38 points on 14 of 26 shooting. It helps when the opponent fails to play defense and Durant took advantage of several lapses by the Cavs. He had an assortment of dunks in the first half when the defense rolled out the red carpet to the hoop.
This wasn’t your typical Warriors game. They shot only 42.5 percent overall and 36.4 percent from three-land. But they took advantage of a careless Cavs club and scored 21 points off turnovers. They also owned the paint, which was a bit surprising, outscoring the Cavs 56-30. Other than Durant and Steph Curry, the Warriors had little help. Klay Thompson continued his postseason shooting struggles and Draymond Green kept his focus on playing defense.
Golden State’s underrated defense gave the Cavs fits on Thursday. The Warriors entered the Finals with the best defensive efficiency rating in the postseason and improved that number by clamping down. Thompson and Green didn’t do much offensively, combining to score just 15 points on 6 of 28 shooting. But their contributions were felt on the defensive end.
According to ESPN Stats and Information, the Cavs were just 1 of 12 from the field when Thompson was the primary defender and 10 of those shots were contested. Green was effective defending Love, who couldn’t break free and made just four of his 13 shots. Golden State’s strategy appeared obvious in Game 1. They’ll allow James and Irving to do most of the damage, but they can beat you by shutting down everyone else. And that’s what they did on Thursday.
Cavaliers vs. Warriors Free Picks
A blowout loss in the Finals with these teams is nothing new, so don’t expect the Cavs to put their tail between their legs after Thursday’s 113-91 defeat. The most frustrating thing for the Cavs is that most of the damage in Game 1 was self-inflicted. The turnovers and missed shots could be attributed to a strong Warriors defensive effort, and to an extent it was. But the Cavs will tell you they let it get out of hand. We will see the Cavs make adjustments and expect James to play off the ball more on Sunday to eliminate the turnovers.
A stronger Cavs’ defensive showing is necessary as well. Allowing Durant a free run to the basket from mid-court on several occasions was just unacceptable. The Cavs will play better in Game 2 but that still may not be good enough. The Dubs have won 11 of their 13 games by double-figures and are 9-4 ATS. Check back for odds at BookMaker.eu and take the points as the Cavs show up this time.
Cavaliers vs. Warriors ATS Pick: Grab the points with Cleveland at BookMaker.eu
Cavaliers vs. Warriors Score Prediction: Warriors 114 – Cavaliers 110