NBA Betting Finals: Can Cavs Use Muscle to Draw Even With Warriors?
The big question most people should have on the minds right now is whether the Cleveland Cavaliers, who truly believed they were “jobbed” in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, can get over that and put their focus on the second game of this series, which is scheduled to tip off at 8:05 PM ET on Sunday at the Oracle Arena. Game 1 and did with a 124-114 Golden State Warriors victory in overtime, although if you saw the game, you know it was much closer than that.
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Obviously they are going to be talking about JR Smith’s gaffe for a long time. With just 4.7 seconds remaining in the game, George Hill, a veteran of nearly 100 playoff games, stepped to the line for two free throws, making the first one and missing the second. Smith beat out Kevin Durant for the rebound, and had a number of options, including going up for shot himself. But inexplicably he dribbled to the outside, as if to run out the clock. LeBron James pleaded with him to do something with the ball, and then turned to the referees to get a timeout, to no avail.
The bottom line is that Smith didn’t realize that his team was not one point ahead, but tied. So it went to into an overtime session, in which the Cavaliers may have still been thinking about that, not to mention what was probably a blown call by the referees when they reversed a charge call against Kevin Durant with 36 seconds left. The NBA officials can review a call if it is a question as to whether a defender is in the “restricted area.” But once that has been established, they need to let the call stand. They did not do that in this case, and as LeBron got called for the block, Durant stepped to the line and made two free throws that really changed the character of the game.
The Cavaliers did get fortunate with the NBA’s ruling that Tristan Thompson, their big man who committed a flagrant foul in and pushed the ball into Draymond Green’s face , was not going to draw a suspension for Game 2. Because of the fact that Andre Iguodala is listed as “doubtful,” Thompson’s presence is very important, in that it enables Cleveland to put more muscle in its lineup then Golden State may realistically have at its disposal.
In the NBA Finals odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, Golden State is once again a double-digit favorite:
Golden State Warriors -11.5
Cleveland Cavaliers +11.5
The Warriors actually had the “True Shooting” edge by a wide margin in Game 1, at 62.8%, compared to Cleveland’s 52.4%. They were very accurate from two-point range (61%) and made 19 out of 20 free throws. Also, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson hit 10 out of their 21 triples, but the rest of the team was dismal (3-15).
One thing that has to be said about Golden State is that they had a tremendous assist-turnover ratio in Game 1, which just seven miscues and 31 “dimes.” Even with all of this, however, Kevin Durant had a poor shooting night (eight for 22), as he once again “stopped” the ball and made some ill-advised attempts. This plagued him, and the Warriors’ offense, in three of the last four games they played against the Houston Rockets.
For the Cavaliers, it is simply a matter of other people getting the job done on offense, beside LeBron, who had 51 points on 19-32 shooting. Even though Kevin Love may just one out of eight attempts at triples, you have to hand it to him, as he scored 21 points with 13 rebounds and worked hard on the defensive end, all of this coming out of a concussion. But when you take those two guys away, this team made only 16 of 47 shots from the field, which isn’t going to inspire trust from the main man. And they are going to have a difficult time covering the number if they shoot just 27% from downtown.
But it really is interesting when you examine what Golden State has done without Iguodala, who was such a key piece in allowing this team to go to its “Hamptons 5” lineup. He defends against King James, allowing Durant to at least conserve some energy; he obviously plays an offensive role, and he is a clutch performer, as evidenced by his NBA Finals MVP award three years ago.If he’s not there, as mentioned, Cleveland gets an opportunity to really extract an advantage on the boards.
They had 19 offensive rebounds in Game 1, and those second chances helped keep them in the game. In the last four games against Houston, which Iggy sat out, the Warriors lost twice, to give Houston a 3-2 lead, then had to overcome deficits of 17 and 15 points, respectively, to beat the Rockets in those last two, as Chris Paul was out and Mike D’Antoni’s team went through an uncharacteristic dry spell from three-point territory. And in Game 1 they barely escaped against this huge underdog, where it can be argued they had no business winning. They are not the same team without their versatile swingman. And that’s what makes us take the points again.
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