After the Golden State Warriors won Game 3 and took a 3-0 series lead, a sweep felt like a formality. In fact, news outlets were more concerned about where LeBron James will be in 2018 than they were about Game 4 of the NBA Finals.
But Cleveland extended the series by blitzing the Warriors 137-116. They scored a Finals-record 86 points in the first half, and set another record with 24 made three-pointers.
Do the Cavs have any more magic in them as the series shifts towards Oracle Arena for Game 5?
Find out as we cover why both teams have a chance to win, along with Game 5 betting info.
NBA Finals Game 5:
Cleveland Cavs vs Golden State Warriors (GSW leads series 3-1)
- Game Time: Monday, June 12 @ 9:00pm ET
- GTBets.eu Money Line: Cleveland +265, Golden State -330
- GTBets.eu Spread: Cleveland +8.5 (-110); Golden State -8.5 (-110)
- Over/Under: 230.5 (-110)
Why the Warriors will Cover their -8.5 Spread
Golden State was completely dominant on their home floor, winning the first two Finals games by an average of 20.5 points. It looked like they might lose Game 3 in Cleveland, but they came roaring back with an 11-0 run to close out the contest.
That said, their Game 4 loss – where Cleveland shot 53.3% from beyond the arc – looks like an outlier, rather than an indication that the Cavs are poised for a comeback.
The problem with playing Golden State is that they have three elite scorers who can hurt you on any given night. If any one of Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, or Klay Thompson is off, the other two usually pick up the slack.
However, Golden State had a rare night, where all three players shot 40.9% or less last game. Durant led the way with a 9-for-22 shooting performance, while Curry (4-for-13) and Thompson (4-for-11) were really off.
Another thing that the Warriors need is better play from their role players. Draymond Green has been piling up stats, but he’s yet to have a decent shooting game. Zaza Pachulia needs to stop committing silly fouls and dropping passes. Andre Igoudala needs to be more of a threat from outside.
One player who was really solid for the Dubs is Shaun Livingston, who made 5-of-7 shots in Game 4. If they can get another 1-2 bench players to step up like Livingston, along with better shooting from Green, it’ll make all the difference.
In the end, count at least two players from the Durant/Thompson/Curry trio to get back on track. If this happens, they’ll be hard to beat.
GSW ATS Record: Golden State is 4-4 against the spread in home postseason games. This matchup is a real toss-up as far as the spread goes, given that Cleveland is desperate.
Why the Cavaliers will Cover their +8.5 Spread
Not only did the Cavs make the game more physical, but they also hit over 52% of their shots in a contest that became very personal.
Kyrie Irving was sensational, making 15-of-27 shots en route to 40 points. Cleveland also got the usual dominant performance from LeBron James, including 11-of-22 shooting and 31 points. He even provided another triple-double with 10 rebounds and 11 assists – surpassing Magic Johnson for the most Finals triple-doubles of all-time with 9.
Kevin Love rounded out a great performance by the Big 3, scoring 23 points on 7-of-14 shooting.
But the player that Cleveland really needed to step up – and did – is Tristan Thompson, who grabbed 10 rebounds (4 offensive) and drew several foul calls on other rebounding attempts. Add in 15 points on five three-pointers from J.R. Smith, and there’s not much the Cavs can do better.
Cleveland is still facing an uphill battle against what’s perhaps the greatest collection of talent on one NBA team ever. They’ll have to play near-perfect and continue bringing physicality/urgency against Golden State.
Assuming they can do this, then they might just have a shot to win Game 5 in Oracle and make this a real series.
Cavs ATS Record: Cleveland is 5-2-2 against the spread in road playoff games. Their 2 losses have come against Golden State. It’ll be close if they can cover +8.5 in this contest.
Final Thoughts on Cavs vs Warriors Betting
Although Golden State is the more talented team overall, it feels like Cleveland could still compete because of how they blew through the Eastern Conference. They’ve shown heart in the last two games, and we don’t expect any less effort in another elimination game.
For the Warriors, they just need to take care of business and let their talent shine through. You can expect more physical play from the Dubs after they got pushed around last time out. It’s hard to envision another scenario where Durant, Curry, and Thompson are off in the same game.
We think that Cleveland will play with enough urgency to beat their +8.5 spread, but the Warriors are a historic team that’ll probably close the series out at home.
Final Score Prediction: Golden State wins 119-115