After a close Game 1 victory, the Golden State Warriors really flexed their muscles in Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Led by Stephen Curry and his NBA Finals record nine three-pointers, Golden State pulled away in the fourth quarter on its home court to secure a 122-103 win
With the series now at 2-0, Cleveland will be looking for some answers as it returns to its home court for Game 3 on Wednesday (9 p.m. ET on ABC). The Cavs are 8-1 on their home floor in the postseason, but they will be hard-pressed to improve that record against a very talented opponent in this contest.
Can Cleveland have the necessary energy and motivation, as well as the right game plan, to make this series a bit more competitive in Game 3? We will take a look at the important determining factors for this contest before giving our picks and Warriors vs Cavs Game 3 predictions against the American-friendly bookmakers’ odds.
Can Klay Thompson Continue to Push Through His Injury On the Road?
Thompson was questionable to play for the Warriors until the final couple of hours leading up to Game 2. He has suffered knee and ankle injuries in these playoffs, so it was understandable that the Warriors were at least considering keeping him out on Sunday as a precaution.
But Thompson played and he made a positive impact. The All-Star shooting guard scored 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field in 34 minutes, despite dealing with foul trouble in the first half. His defensive mobility didn’t look like it was compromised by that much.
Thompson has been extremely durable throughout his career and he should play in Game 3. However, without the Warriors’ home crowd there to cheer him on, is there a chance some of his adrenaline wears off?
If that is the case, he may not have the normal strength in his legs to power his sweet jump shot or play his trademark solid defense.
Will Tyronn Lue Make Any Rotational Adjustments?
Lue, the Cavaliers’ head coach, has been criticized incessantly by media members for some questionable coaching decisions throughout this tenure, but especially in these playoffs. To be fair, he is dealing with a far inferior roster to Golden State’s, but it still seems like there are some ways he could better maximize his team’s potential.
In particularly, he has given shooting guard J.R. Smith more than 32 minutes per game in this postseason despite the fact that Smith has shot just 34.5 percent from the field, 36.2 percent from three-point range and doesn’t usually help the defense. Jordan Clarkson is also playing a rotation role off the bench, but he has been even worse on both ends of the floor.
Lue would be wise to limit the minutes of both players. In their places, Kyle Korver, Larry Nance Jr., Cedi Osman and Rodney Hood could all stand to play a bit more. Each of these four players is at least 6’7” and offers the team a bit more defensive versatility than Smith and Clarkson.
Can Cleveland Continue to Limit its Live-Ball Turnovers?
One main thing that did go Cleveland’s way in Game 2 was how it avoided live-ball turnovers. Of the Cavs’ 10 miscues, just three resulted in steals for the Warriors. This helped Cleveland limit Golden State to just seven points off turnovers. The Warriors’ average number of points off opponent turnovers in the postseason was 17.7 heading into Game 2.
Obviously, it is bad news for the Cavs that the Warriors still put up 122 points despite scoring very few of those as a result of Cleveland mistakes. However, ball protection still needs to stay a priority for the Cavs.
If the Cavs can just avoid silly mistakes with the ball as they did in Game 2, their chances of winning will increase drastically, especially since they will probably hit more outside shots on their home floor.
Our Preview’s Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers Game 3 Betting Picks & Predictions
The unfortunate thing for Cleveland is that they didn’t play that badly in Game 2. The Warriors just played really well, and close to their potential. We should expect a game closer than the blowout Game 2 turned into, but Golden State will be sufficiently motivated in this contest to really go for a demoralizing win over a less talented Cavs team. These are the Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers Game 3 predictions for this preview:
- The betting favorite is the visiting Warriors, which should come as no surprise. They have to win by at least 5 points to cover most spreads, which they should do. You can find your best odds of Warriors -4.5pts @ -110 with Bovada, Intertops or 5Dimes.
- These teams have hit the over in both of the first two contests, and the projected total just keeps continuing to rise gradually with each game. However, I still have confidence in these squads hitting at least the number given by all major sportsbooks. Cleveland’s role players will shoot better at home, while the Warriors will force more turnovers and get more transition points. Place your bet on over 217 total points @ -110 with 5Dimes.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.