After being humiliated in the first two games of the 2016 NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers looked like an entirely different team in front of their home fans. Sparked by 62 points from star duo LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, they blew away the previously dominant Golden State Warriors by 30 points. With fans now experiencing renewed optimism that this series may go the distance, will Cleveland level the series at home… or will the defending champions bounce back and move to within one game of back-to-back titles?
Golden State Warriors @ Cleveland Cavaliers
It took just one result, a result that hadn’t occurred in a full season, to suddenly and abruptly turn the general public’s view of the NBA Finals upside down. The Cleveland Cavaliers were nearly perfect in winning Game 3 120-90, snapping a seven-game losing streak to the Golden State Warriors in the process. Wednesday night’s devastating display was the first time since Game 3 of the 2015 NBA Finals that the Cavaliers had beaten the Warriors. Looking back at that previous series, Cleveland had a 2-1 advantage and headed into Game 4 after a 103-82 victory in Game 3. The Cavaliers got 40 points from LeBron James but their bench would be outscored 44-17 and the Warriors would win 96-91. This, in the eyes of The Big Dog, remains the biggest advantage for the defending champions. They are a deeper, more consistent unit than a Cavaliers team that will live and die by the ability of at least two of their best three players to be exceptional. Even when being on the wrong end of a blowout, Golden State’s bench still outplayed their Cleveland counterparts 33-15, taking the series tally to 118-55. Even taking into account that their catch-cry in this playoffs has been “Strength in numbers”, those numbers are astounding. Finally, there’s the anticipation of a bounce-back effort from the two-time MVP. Steph Curry has had a historically quiet series, to this point, averaging just 16.0 points after averaging over 30 points a game in the regular season. Remarkably, Curry has appeared to receive similar criticism after one loss, to what LeBron James was given after two. The Big Dog expects Steph Curry to respond in a big way and in combination with the Warriors’ superior bench production, the defending champs can get the win today and look forward to wrapping up their successful title defence, at home.
Golden State Warriors @ $2.20 (William Hill/bet365/Ladbrokes)
Over 28.5 (Stephen Curry Total Points) @ $1.96 (CrownBet)
Over 4.5 (Stephen Curry Total Made 3 Point Field Goals) @ $1.57 (William Hill)
Over 3.5 (Klay Thompson Total Made 3 Point Field Goals) @ $1.71 (William Hill)