The only loss came in their next-to-last regular season game with everything already decided and several regulars taking a seat for a majority of that contest. Last year’s Finals started the same way for the Cavs, who are hoping history can repeat itself.
Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Date and Time: Wednesday, June 7, 2017, 9 p.m. ET
Location: Quicken Loans Arena
Warriors vs. Cavaliers TV Coverage: ABC
If you’re a fan of the game of basketball, you can’t help but like the way the Warriors play. They are relentless and move the ball superbly looking for the best opportunity on offense. And that typically results in Kevin Durant or Stephen Curry handling the scoring chores. The pair combined for 65 points on Sunday with Durant looking like he wants to hoist the O’Brien Trophy for the first time in his career.
The Warriors turned the ball over 20 times, which was a glaring difference from Game 1, but they still managed to run away from the Cavs in the second half. The Dubs shot over 52 percent in the second half while holding the Cavs to 40 percent shooting to turn a three-point lead at the break into another rout easily covering the 9-point spread. Golden State is 5-0 ATS in its last five and 10-4 ATS this postseason with the over 6-1 in their last seven.
Cleveland handled the ball better in Game 2, committing just nine turnovers for the game, but there were other areas that still need work. Defensive lapses resulted in easy Warriors’ buckets and the Cavs could never get on a run or slow the Dubs down. Three-point shooting, a staple of the Cavs this season, was another troublesome area. The Cavs hit just 8 of 29 from distance and James couldn’t do it all himself.
Kevin Love showed up dropping in 27 points on 12 of 23 shooting, but the Cavs had little support elsewhere. Kyrie Irving missed 15 of his 23 shots and J.R. Smith has disappeared. James needs help and he just didn’t get it in the first two games. Golden State’s defense has harassed the Cavs into spurts where the shots don’t fall and they’ve gotten discouraged. Cleveland has yet to match the Warriors’ intensity and that should change in Game 3.
Player to Watch
LeBron is being LeBron in the Finals and he bounced back with a typical LeBron game on Sunday, putting up a double-double of 18 points and 10 assists by halftime. He completed the triple-double in the second half and ended with 29 points, 14 assists and 11 boards while cutting his turnovers in half from the opener. But James received little help from his teammates, especially Smith, who went scoreless and played just 14 minutes on Sunday night.
When things don’t go well change is in order. And Tyronn Lue has hinted a change at shooting guard is coming. Iman Shumpert played nearly 22 minutes off the bench and scored six points, but he likely gets a start on Wednesday because of his defensive work on Durant. Lue said the Cavs must improve their defense and Shumpert has the length and size to contend with KD. He won’t shut Durant down, but after scoring 71 points in the first two games, somebody needs to disrupt KD’s rhythm.
Warriors vs. Cavaliers Free Picks
Cleveland responded to a 33-point loss in Game 2 of last year’s Finals to upend the Warriors at home in Game 3. Granted, that was last season and the Dubs didn’t have Durant, but the similarities are striking and the Cavs go home knowing what happened last season. That and playing a home game for the first time in two weeks should motivate the Cavaliers.
The Warriors have not been an underdog in any postseason game and the way they’re playing we could see them as a favorite in Game 3. When the team’s played for the first time at The Q in last year’s Finals, the Cavs were a slight home favorite and that’s likely the case on Wednesday. Check back for odds at BookMaker.eu. The Cavs aren’t relinquishing their title without a fight and I think they still have some fight in them to make this interesting.
Warriors vs. Cavaliers ATS Pick: Give the points with Cleveland at BookMaker.eu
Warriors vs. Cavaliers Score Prediction: Cavaliers 115 – Warriors 109