The first game of the 2016 NBA Finals is in the books and the defending champions, the Golden State Warriors, hold the early advantage after a 104-89 home victory. In a dangerous sign for LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson scored only 20 combined points on 8 of 27 shooting, in the 15-point win. Golden State’s bench was key, outscoring their Cleveland counterparts by a massive 45-10 margin. Will it be more of the same in Game 2 at Oracle Arena… or will a recent trend come to the aid of the reeling visitors and square the series?
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Golden State Warriors
After the comfortable win in Game 1, the Warriors have shortened into around $1.25 to repeat as NBA Champions, which would condemn Cleveland to 0-3 in the NBA Finals during the LeBron James era. Much has already been made of LeBron’s personal NBA Finals record, which could slip to 2-5 if the Cavaliers fail to get the job done in 2016. Cavs fans might just have cause to delay hitting the panic button just yet. The scenario of being 0-1 in a playoff series is something that LeBron is not only used to, he’s a proven performer when needing to win Game 2. The first game of this series was the sixth time in seven attempts that James has lost the opening match of the Finals… but he has also won Game 2 on the last nine consecutive occasions where his team had lost Game 1 of a playoff series. During that impressive 9-0 streak, LeBron has also averaged 29 points. As tempting as it may be to say that Cleveland will bounce back to square the series, The Big Dog isn’t going that far. The match-ups between these two teams are still heavily in favour of the Warriors and this game is still at Oracle. The +6.0 points spread is also worth serious consideration… but ultimately The Big Dog is focused on one man and one man alone. It is highly probable that LeBron James will have a big game. What is uncertain is whether that will make a difference to the result. He came within one assist of a triple-double in Game 1 (23-12-9) and suffered from a significant lack of help, outside of Kyrie Irving’s 26 points. LeBron has points tallies of 27, 27 and 23 in three victorious Game 2’s, so far this postseason and his line for today’s game is positioned nicely to back overs with high levels of confidence.
Over 26.5 (LeBron James Total Match Points) @ $1.87 (William Hill/Sportsbet)