Cavs vs Warriors Betting Game 2

cavs-warriors-game-2If you knew beforehand that Steph Curry and Klay Thompson would combine for just 20 points on 8-of-27 shooting, you’d think that the Golden State Warriors’ would be in severe trouble. But the Warriors’ bench stepped up big in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, helping deliver Golden State a 104-89 win.

Shaun Livingston came off the bench to lead the Warriors with 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Several other unheralded Warriors came up big on a night when the Splash Brothers were off.

The Cleveland Cavaliers, meanwhile, are searching for answers after losing just their third game of the postseason. The Cavs were a dismal 38% from the field and looked nothing like the team that rolled through the Eastern Conference playoffs with a 10-2 record.

Can the Cavaliers bounce back and even up the series? Or will Golden State keep rolling and win their second-straight title? You can find out as we cover Game 2 between the Cavs and Warriors. line for Game 2 (June 5 at 8:00pm EST)
Cleveland +6.5 (-110)
Golden State -6.5 (-110)

Why the Cavs will cover the Spread

In our preview of the 2016 NBA Finals, we thought that Golden State would come away with a relatively easy Game 1 victory, given how Curry stressed not losing the first contest like they did to the Thunder. With the first game down, we think that Cleveland has a much better chance to compete on Sunday.

They have a lot of room to improve too after giving up several layups and uncontested dunks to Golden State’s role players. Few NBA teams look as unprepared on interior defense as the Cavs did, so expect better paint D from Cleveland rolling into Game 2.

cavs-warriors-betting-game-2One thing that the Cavs don’t have to improve on, though, is their defense of Curry and Thompson.

Cleveland saw what they did to the Thunder in the last two games of that series. So they used a combination of Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, LeBron James and Matthew Dellavedova switching on screens to lock these two down. Sometimes this isn’t even enough, but it was last night since Curry scored just 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting while Thompson scored 9 points on 4-of-12 shooting.

Back to the negatives, Cleveland’s offense needs to be markedly better in Game 2. They looked like a sluggish half-court team, rather than the free-flowing squad that ripped through the Eastern Conference. Expect coach Ty Lue to make the necessary adjustments to get Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and Smith in better position to score this time around.

LeBron James, on the other hand, doesn’t need to worry about adjustments or a different game plan. He scored 23 points on 9-of-21 shooting while grabbing 12 rebounds and dishing 9 assists. James has picked up where he did in last year’s Finals, and his improved supporting cast should show up to help deliver a Game 2 win.

Why the Warriors will cover the Spread

Golden State had a lot of unlikely heroes in their victory last night. We mentioned Livingston, now here are the other Warriors who came through:

– Harrison Barnes: 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting
– Draymond Green: 16 points on 5-of-11 shooting, 11 rebounds, 7 assists
– Andrew Bogut: 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting
– Andrew Igoudala: 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting, 7 rebounds, 6 assists
– Leandro Barbosa: 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting

thunder-warriors-betting-game-3Granted, these guys got a lot of open looks, but they did a great job of hitting shots with Curry and Thompson receiving so much attention. Given how these guys played, it should relieve some pressure for the Splash Brothers to get open a little more.

Beyond the supporting cast’s shooting, this was a great team defensive effort. The Warriors forced Cleveland into 15 turnovers and gave the Cavs few open looks during last night’s game.

If the Warriors’ supporting cast can play even half as good as they did in the first game, combined with this same defensive effort and better shooting from Curry/Thompson, Golden State will go up 2-0 before the series heads back to Cleveland.

Prediction for Cavs vs Warriors Game 2

irving-curryWith the Warriors again playing at home and currently on a 4-game win streak, there’s little reason to doubt that they can win again. And it doesn’t look like Cleveland is close to solving them because, dating back to last year’s Finals, they’ve now lost six straight games against Golden State. But then again, this isn’t the same Cleveland team that got beat up 132-98 on their home floor in January. LeBron and the Cavs have the urgency to know that going down 2-0 in this series would be devastating. Expect them to fix their problems from Game 1 and come away with a close win.

Final Score: Cleveland 105 – Golden State 102
Betting Prediction: Bet on Cleveland to cover their +6.5 spread

Cavs vs Warriors Betting Game 2: Rihanna curses JR. Smith – Will He be Okay?

jr-smith-rihanna-nba-finalsThe first game is now in the books between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, with the latter winning 108-100 (OT) on their home floor. The Cavs had two chances to win the game in regulation, with LeBron James missing a jump shot and Iman Shumpert missing a last-second put-back. It’s not hard to pinpoint the X-factor here: JR Smith only hit 3-of-13 from the field at a time when Cleveland needed his clutch shooting. Additionally, Kyrie Irving left with another knee injury, making some wonder if this will even be a series anymore. We’ll discuss that, along with Rihanna’s possible effect on Smith, but first, here’s the Cavs vs Warriors Game 2 betting line:

Game Time: Sunday (June 7th) at 8:00 ET Line:
Golden State -8 (-110)       Over 200.5 (-110)
Cleveland (-110)               Under 200.5 (-110)

Judging by the line, this shouldn’t be much of a contest – especially with the Warriors at Oracle Arena again. Of course, the theme here, including mine personally, is that you can’t count LeBron out. But is it finally time to do so, given that King James is against a seemingly unbeatable army? Let’s look at five important factors that will determine Game 2 between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers.

1. Golden State Small Ball can break Any Team

Draymond Green, LeBron JamesOvertime finally saw Steve Kerr pull out the small ball lineup that has crushed so many other teams this year – Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Igoudala, Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green playing center. These five, who are interchangeable with a couple bench players, give the Warriors five players who can shoot, dribble and spread the floor. The fear is that the Cavs can kill Golden State on the boards and inside with this small ball lineup. However, that was far from the case in the first game.

2. Kyrie Irving is done for the Finals – The Cavs are Possibly done Too

Irving already came into this series knowing that he wouldn’t be 100%. However, he looked like he was near 100% while shooting 10-for-22 and pouring in 23 points. That was before he went down near the end of Game 1 and limped back to the locker room; now the diagnosis is in – Irving has a fractured knee cap and needs surgery plus 3-4 months of recovery. Cleveland got by with Matthew Dellavedova at point in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but it’s highly unlikely they can repeat that feat against the Warriors.

3. JR Smith shot Terribly – But He has to be on Fire

jr-smith-clevelandTwitter was ablaze with rumors that Rihanna cursed JR Smith in the first game, as he shot only 3-for-13 with 9 points in 34 minutes. Smith was a hero in the Bulls and Hawks series for Cleveland, hitting timely shots and playing good defense. But some suggest that he wasn’t himself with Rihanna in the crowd because they supposedly have beef with each other. Whatever the case may be, Smith did not look good in the first game and he’ll have to get on fire for Cleveland when considering how limited their offensive options are.

4. Andre Igoudala did not stop LeBron – He took Advantage of Opportunity

Many headlines claim that Igoudala stopped LeBron down the stretch, or at the very least slowed him down. Well, the game footage shows that James did play somewhat worse offensively with Igoudala guarding him. And Iggy is definitely one of the league’s better wing defenders. But this isn’t just great defense at play – it’s great defense combined with Warriors depth. At any time, James could be facing Green, Igoudala or Harrison Barnes, meaning he’s never going to get a break this series.

5. Golden State’s Bench will win this One Easily

Given Irving’s status, Cleveland doesn’t seem to have any chance on the road, against the league’s toughest team. They might win 1-2 games in the series if they’re lucky, but Golden State just has way too much depth for the Cavs to contend with. And here’s a parting stat just to hammer this point home:

GS Bench = 14-for-27 shooting, 34 points
Cleveland Bench = 4-for-14, 9 points

Game 2 Score Prediction: Golden State 105, Cleveland 93