Warriors vs Cavaliers – NBA Finals Game 3 Pick for June 6th
In some ways, it feels like Cleveland has already lost the NBA Finals and is just going through the inevitable motions of defeat. Well, that’s if you listen to some of these NBA talking heads. In reality, the Warriors did what they were supposed to do and that was win both of their home games. Now, Cleveland has a chance to get back into this series by winning Game 3 at home, where they play better basketball.
This series should be tied up at 1-1, but we all know what happened in Game 1 that cost the Cavs the victory. In Game 2, Steph Curry set an NBA Finals record by hitting 9 three-pointers and led the Warriors to a blowout win 122 to 103. Curry and the Warriors ended up shooting 41.7% from downtown and a staggering 57.3% from the floor. If they would’ve shot better than 61.9% from the free throw line then this game would’ve been a 25 point thrashing. Thompson chipped in 20 points, Durant chipped in 26 points, and Javale McGee added 12 points.
For the Cavs, King James had 29 points, 13 assists and 9 rebounds. Kevin Love added 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Hill and Thompson combined for 26 points. Other than those 4 starters, nobody else on the team had more than 6 points. It was a complete disaster by the Cleveland role players. This effort will need to change otherwise the Cavs will be swept right out of the Finals.
Fortunately, for Cleveland, they return home where it seems that the role players eat their spinach and turn into Popeye on the floor. They will need every ounce of superhuman strength to overcome this series deficit as the team who goes up 2-0 in a best-of-seven series, are 282-20 all-time.
King James is averaging 40 points per game in the Finals, but he failed to top 30 in Game 2. That can’t happen in Game 3. LeBron needs 35+ points and at least 8 assists and 8 rebounds. He needs to dictate the flow of the game and put his teammates in positions to succeed. Additionally, Kevin Love needs to continue his solid productivity as he’s averaging 21.5 ppg and 11.5 rbg in the finals. The rest of the team needs to step up.
In the Finals, Korver is averaging 2 ppg, Smith is at 7.5 ppg, Thompson is only scoring 6.5 ppg, and the reliable veteran Jeff Green has only chipped in 6.5 ppg off the bench. All of these players need to score closer to 10 ppg for the Cavs to have a realistic shot at winning.
Ultimately, Cleveland will need to play better defense. They’re giving up 123 ppg in the Finals and only scoring 108.5 ppg. Now, the Warriors aren’t as great on the road in the playoffs as they’ve been at home. In fact, they’ve suffered a few losses and have looked beatable when playing as the visiting team. This will work to Cleveland’s advantage.
There’s a good chance that Cleveland wins this game outright, but I believe taking the points is the smart play here. The Cavs are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games, 8-0 SU in their last 8 home games, 5-2 SU when trailing in a playoff series, and 37-13 SU at home this year.
The Warriors are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games against the Eastern Conference, 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games on 2 days rest, 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games on Wednesdays, 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games against the NBA Central division, 9-21 ATS after 3 or more consecutive wins, 4-7 ATS when leading a playoff series, 9-20 ATS after playing a non-conference game, and 1-6 SU in their last 7 games when favored by 4.5 points or less.
The road team has gone 1-5 SU in the last six head-to-head meetings and I believe there’s a good chance that extends to 1-6 SU. I’m going with King James and his minions to play much better at home, improve their defense, and win Game 3. If you want to avoid the spread or moneylines in this game, then take a look at the Over as it’s gone 6-2 in the last 8 head-to-head meetings.
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