The Cleveland Cavaliers suffered an extremely demoralizing loss to the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night. Cleveland led by six points with two and a half minutes remaining, but Golden State scored the last 11 points of the game to secure a 118-113 victory.
Of course, the Warriors are now just one win away from a series sweep. No team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit. Game 4 today should be an entertaining contest, despite how lopsided the matchup has been so far (9pm ET Friday on ABC).
The Warriors have been led by Finals MVP-caliber performances from both Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry. LeBron James has also been otherworldly for the Cavs, but none of his teammates have come close to the level of Durant or Curry.
Can the Cavaliers keep their hopes for a series comeback alive with a Game 4 win? Some things would have to go their way for that to happen. Let’s examine some of the X-factors for tonight’s game before turning our attention to the U.S.A. sportsbooks’ odds and giving our betting predictions and preview’s picks.
Can One Player Explode Off the Cavs Bench?
The Cavs do not have a deep bench. Most of their reserves are offense-first players who shoot well and don’t do much else.
That said, even the shooting has been off for those reserves in the Finals. The Cavs’ bench players are shooting a combined 18-of-65 (27.7 percent) from the field and 7-of-35 (20 percent) from three-point range.
Deron Williams is the biggest culprit, with a combined zero points and four assists in the series on 0-of-11 shooting. He is supposed to be the playmaker off the bench for Cleveland to ease the burden for LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, but he obviously hasn’t done that.
Williams or another one of Cleveland’s long-distance snipers needs to drop in 15 points or so to help out the Cavs’ stars.
Is Klay Thompson Going to Stay Hot?
Thompson broke out of his playoff-long shooting slump in a big way in Games 2 and 3. After shooting 67-of-183 (36.6 percent) from the field and 24-of-71 (33.8 percent) from three-point range in the first 13 games of the postseason, he has shot 19-of-30 (63.3 percent) from the field and 10-of-18 (55.6 percent) from downtown in his last two games.
When Klay is dialed in, the Warriors are nearly unbeatable. Cleveland kept it close in Game 3 thanks to big nights from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, but the team can’t count on a combined 77 points from those two every night.
On the other hand, Thompson shooting something like 5-of-17 means the Warriors have gotten a lot of empty offensive possessions and that the Cavs don’t have to defend him as tightly.
Can Cleveland Reverse the Troubling Rebounding Trends?
To be clear, the Cavs aren’t getting killed on the glass; the advantage for Golden State in this series is a total of 10 rebounds. However, considering Cleveland takes pride in controlling the rebounding battle and the Warriors often play small ball, you’d think the Cavs would be doing better in that category.
So far in this series, we have seen the Cavs acquiesce to the Warriors’ preference by playing more small-ball. While that may help them a bit on the defensive end to match Golden State’s strategy, they lose their rebounding advantage.
The only way the Cavs can turn this series around is by exploiting the areas where the Warriors are relatively weak. Golden State is somewhat small as a team, and Cleveland must muck up the game by extending possessions with offensive rebounds and slowing the game down.
Our Preview’s Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers Game 4 Betting Picks & Predictions
The Cavaliers can’t be happy with how they finished Game 3. That could cause them either to play determined or disheartened, depending on how they want to respond.
Given that Cleveland did come back from a 3-1 deficit against the Warriors last year, I can’t help but think that they won’t lay down in Game 4. Yes, Golden State is the better team, but the Cavs are at home and have plenty of firepower on their own.
- The spread has gotten wider compared to Game 3. Golden State is now 6pts or 6.5pts favorite for Game 4 after being a three-point favorite for Game 3. On the one hand, the Warriors will be smelling blood for a sweep. However the Cavs have a lot of pride and one of the two best players in NBA history (LeBron James). I expect Cleveland and its crowd to put forth a lot of effort in this one, and at least help keep the Cavs close. The pick is to bet on Cleveland +6.5pts @ -110 with Bovada Sportsbook on the spread.
- The over/under has also gotten higher for Game 4, at a robust 228.5pts. Pretty much none of the role players for either team has contributed much on offense, and regression to the mean suggests that should change somewhat. So for this total points market, our prediction to bet the over 228.5pts @ -110 with 5Dimes.