Cleveland Cavaliers vs Golden State Warriors
Game 2 Preview
Where: Oracle Arena – Oakland, CA
When: Sunday, June 4, 2017, 8:00 PM ET
TV Broadcast: ABC
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Betting on the Cleveland Cavaliers (+370)
It’s back to the drawing board for LeBron James and the rest of the Cleveland Cavaliers after they were walloped by the Golden State Warriors, 113-91, in Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals. The defensive woes that plagued Cleveland late in the regular season reared its ugly head once again in the series opener as they failed to keep up with the swift ball movement of the star-laden Warriors. The Cavs lost every situational scoring category in Game 1 including points in the paint (56-30), second-chance situations (18-13) and fast break points (27-9).
There’s no need to panic, though, for the Cavs who know first hand the situation they are in right now. They got blown out in the first two games of last year’s Finals before beating the Warriors in a seven-game thriller. Comebacks can be done. Just ask King James who has won three of the previous five NBA Finals despite losing Game 1 in each of those series. Changes need to occur fast, though, if they are to stop the rampaging Warriors in Game 2.
The onus is on LeBron to do a much better job for the Cavs this coming Sunday. Yes, James scored 28 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in Game 1 and for the first time in his storied career had a double-double in the first half of a Finals game. That performance was soured, though, by the fact that he committed a whopping eight turnovers on Thursday. That’s trouble against a Golden State team that’s averaging 18.5 points off turnovers this postseason.
James can’t do it all alone, though, and he needs his Cavs teammates to step up their play in Game 2. Expect Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love to be more aggressive this coming Sunday after combining for just 39 points in Game 1. Another guy who must contribute is Tristan Thompson who looked a shell of himself in the series opener. He produced an embarrassing zero-point, four-rebound performance in Game 1. The Cavs can ill afford Thompson to be pushed around by the undersized Warriors in this series. It will take a total team effort for the Cavs to unlock this Golden State puzzle. The Cavs shot just 3-of-23 from the field when James or Irving didn’t shoot or create the shot.
The Cavs are 7-1 SU and 5-1-2 ATS on the road this postseason. They are pegged at +450 to win the 2017 NBA Finals.
Betting on the Golden State Warriors (-470)
Welcome back to the Finals, Kevin Durant! The 2014 MVP delivered one of the more impressive performances in NBA Finals history in Game 1, finishing with 38 points on 53.8 percent shooting from the field in just 37 minutes of action. Not even the presence of Rihanna can stop Durant who was in attack mode right from the get-go. He scored 23 points in the first half, including a career-best six dunks. Making things a whole lot easier for Durant is the presence of reigning two-time MVP Stephen Curry. He scored 28 points with six 3-pointers and 10 assists as he looked hell-bent on avenging that painful series loss to the Cavs last year.
With the victory, Golden State improved to 13-0 this postseason. The Warriors are the first team in the NBA to go this far in the playoffs unblemished. As scary as it may sound, there’s still plenty of room for improvement for the red-hot Dubs. Sharpshooter Klay Thompson still isn’t firing on all cylinders for the Warriors. He’s shooting just 36 percent from the floor and only 33 percent from beyond the arc this postseason after a woeful 3-of-16 night Thursday. Make no mistake about it, though, Thompson’s still a major contributor for the Warriors especially on the defensive end. In Game 1, Cleveland players took 12 shots with Thompson as the primary defender. Thompson contested 10 of those 12 attempts with the Cavs only making just one shot.
For the Warriors to keep the momentum going in Game 2, they will need to continue their highly-efficient play. Golden State’s four turnovers in Game 1 were tied for the least in Finals history. That’s the fewest the Warriors have ever committed in any contest (regular season or playoffs) since turnovers were started being counted in 1977. The Cavs, on the other hand, committed a whopping 20 turnovers on Thursday, tied for the most they’ve committed in 55 playoff games over the last three years. If that turnover difference becomes a trend, this much-anticipated Finals rematch will be over rather quickly.
The Warriors are 7-0 SU and 3-4 ATS at home this postseason. They are pegged at -700 to win the 2017 NBA Finals.
Golden State wins Game 2 but Cleveland (+9) covers.
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