The Golden State Warriors missed out on an amazing 16-0 postseason record because of an explosion of Cleveland Cavaliers offense in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday.
The series score is 3-1, which is where the Finals stood at this point last season between these two teams. Of course, Cleveland won three consecutive games to take the championship crown. Today Cleveland hit the road to continue their bid for the first playoff series comeback from 3-0 down (9pm ET Monday on ABC).
Unlike last year, the Warriors obviously have Kevin Durant, who has been fantastic throughout the series. Cleveland may also be better than last year, though, and Game 4 showed us that they can lift their offense to superhuman levels on occasions.
The Cavaliers will need a similarly impressive performance to stave off elimination on the Warriors’ home floor. Let’s discuss a few important storylines that will impact tonight’s contest and then select our betting predictions and picks with the top United States’ oddsmakers.
Will the Cavaliers Continue to Dominate the Three-Point Game?
Believe it or not, the Cavs have been an even better three-point shooting squad than the Warriors all season. Golden State has Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, but Cleveland has had more three-point makes per game and a better three-point percentage than the Dubs in both the regular season and the postseason.
However, Game 4 was a major anomaly from behind the arc. While Cleveland went 24-of-45 (53.3 percent) from three-point range, the Warriors were just 11-of-39 (28.2) from the same distance. That’s a difference of 39 points (13 three-pointers) on just six extra shooting possessions.
The Cavs will struggle to win on the road if they don’t dominate the three-point game. Remember, Golden State had big advantages in three-point makes per game (15.3 to 10.3) and percentage (42.2 to 29.8) in the first three games of the Finals.
Can the Warriors Get Stephen Curry More Involved in their Scoring Attack?
Curry is arguably the top offensive weapon in the NBA right now. It was completely unacceptable for him to take only 13 shots in Game 4 with a chance at clinching a championship.
Steph did contribute 10 assists, which is nice. However, the Warriors are at their best when he’s looking to score first and pass second. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr also had the reigning two-time MVP playing off the ball a lot. Curry uses the threat of his shooting to make an impact when he doesn’t have the rock, but he’s so much more dangerous in the pick-and-roll.
Look for a more involved Curry in Game 5. However, if that doesn’t happen, Cleveland’s chances at an upset go up drastically.
How Big of a Factor Will the Oracle Arena Crowd Be?
Give the Cavs fans credit for Game 4; Quicken Loans Arena was a great environment for the home team to play in, and a terrible environment for the Warriors. Golden State’s energy was decent from the get-go, but the Cavs looked like they were on a team-wide adrenaline rush for pretty much the entire game.
If Warriors fans at Oracle Arena are close to as amped as Cleveland fans were in Game 4, I suspect Golden State’s energy level will go way up. The Warriors had a tough time getting out in transition in Game 4, but that shouldn’t be a problem if the Warriors faithful does its job in Game 5.
With an NBA title on the line, we shouldn’t expect anything less than a madhouse at Oracle Arena tonight.
Our Preview’s Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors Game 5 Betting Picks & Predictions
All signs point to Game 4 being a massive exception. The Warriors took their foot off the gas for a game knowing they would have two chances to close out the series at home. Cleveland made an inordinate number of three-point shots and Golden State missed an inordinate number of similar looks.
I have all the respect in the world for LeBron James in elimination games, but he is way outmatched by this star-studded Warriors squad. They should win big, dashing the NBA community’s hopes for a tight series.
- Cleveland’s blowout win in Game 4 likely caused oddsmakers to be a bit more conservative with the Game 5 line. Most of them have Golden State as an 8.5-point favorite. This preview recommends betting on the Warriors in this contest, as they should win by around 15 points. The best option for this betting prediction is to wager on Golden State -8.5pts @ -110 with Bookmaker, 5Dimes or MyBookie.
- Most outlets have the over/under for Game 5 at 230.5 to 231 total points after the offensive explosion in Game 4 (total of 253 points). This is an extremely high prediction, and I think Cleveland’s shooters will regress to the mean significantly as the Warriors play with more force on the defensive end, like Game 1. The pick is to bet the under 231pts @ -110 with Bovada or Bookmaker.