Golden State (2-1) at Cleveland (1-2)
When: Friday, June 10th 2016
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Time: 9:05 ET | TV: ABC
Just when some people (including myself) thought the NBA Finals was over, the Cleveland Cavaliers put on a dominating display in Game 3 and have a chance to tie the series up heading back to Golden State. The Cavaliers came out quickly and built a 33-14 first period lead and never looked back in a 120-90 triumph. The Cavaliers have a decision to make in regards to power forward Kevin Love, who sat out the previous game with a concussion and watched his team’s defense improve. “We definitely need him back,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue told reporters of Love, though he would not commit to returning the former star to the starting lineup. “We miss his rebounding. We miss his post presence. We miss his 3-point shooting. So we definitely want him back, but he has to take the steps necessary to get himself back.” Cleveland outrebounded Golden State 60-41 in Game 3 and Vegas oddsmakers have already said that the line will not change with or without Love. J.R. Smith scored 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting in Game 3 after totaling eight points on 3-of-9 in the first two games combined.
Golden State shot 54.3% from the field and won the rebounding battle 52-47 in a 110-77 Game 2 win but slumped to 42.1% from the field while getting crushed 60-41 on the boards in Game 3. Golden State won the first two games by a combined 48 points despite reigning two-time MVP Steph Curry not playing up to his usual standards, and another sub-par effort in the Game 3 loss brought his struggles under the microscope. Curry’s 48 points are the fewest through the first three games in NBA Finals history for a player who averaged 30 points or more in the regular season. Whether he’s hurt or tired or whatever, he’s definitely off his game right now. “I stick to my preparation and my mental strategy of staying within myself to get myself out of a hole, and not panicking and not over-complicating things and not trying to psych myself out,” Curry told reporters. “There’s a reason I have confidence out there, and it’s about how I prepare for games.”
It amazes me how teams play at home as oppose to the road in the NBA. I’m not talking a little bit better, but a lot. Cleveland was crushed in Toronto in Games 3 and 4 in the Eastern Conference Finals after rolling in the first two. Draymond Green is a guy who has played poorly on the road this postseason also. I have to give the edge to Cleveland tonight. They really surprised me the other night. I really think they should bring Love off the bench, however.
Pick: Cavaliers -2