Cavs Warriors Odds – Game 3 of 2018 NBA Finals

lebron-steph-curryThe Cleveland Cavaliers lost a heartbreaking overtime contest in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals. But this wasn’t quite the case in Game 2, as Golden State claimed a convincing 122-103 victory.

Golden State is in the position everything thought they would be, up 2-0 over the underdog Cavs. This means that Cleveland desperately needs a victory in Game 3 to avoid falling into the dreaded 3-0 hole.

Do they have it in them? Find out as I preview Cavs and Warriors odds heading into Game 3. Also, keep in mind that you can bet on all the 2018 NBA Finals action at GTBets.

Cavs Warriors Game 3 Odds – 9:00pm on Wednesday (June 6)

  • Golden State -4.5 (-114) / -198 moneyline
  • Cleveland +4.5 (-104)/ +165 moneyline
  • Over 217 (-109)
  • Under 217 (-109)

Why Cleveland Will Cover +4.5

Cleveland had a rough outing in the second game, especially on the defensive end. They had multiple miscommunications that led to several layups.

This helped players like Kevin Durant (10-for-14), Klay Thompson (8-for-13), JaVale McGee (6-for-6), and Shaun Livingston (5-for-5) have strong shooting performances. Steph Curry didn’t have an amazing field goal percentage (11-for-26). But he did make an NBA Finals record nine three-pointers. In summary, it just wasn’t Cleveland’s night.

But now they’ve got their backs to the wall with a home game coming up. You know that Cleveland will fire many punches throughout this fight, because if they lose, then the series is undoubtedly over.

The good news for the Cavs is that they played poorly and still hung around until the fourth quarter. LeBron James, who had 29 points, 13 assists, and 9 rebounds, looks like he’ll be a juggernaut every time out. And Tristan Thompson also made a good contribution with 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting.

If Cleveland can get at least one or two other players going, then they have realistic chance to win their first game of the series.

Why Golden State Will Cover -4.5

Golden State was as efficient as ever in dismantling the Cavs. Three of the starters finished with 20+ points, and five players scored in double figures. They shot 57.3% from the floor and 41.7% from the three-point line.

klay-thompson-warriorsThe Warriors had Cleveland far more confused this time around. Their ball movement led to a number of wide-open shots. And Curry kept the Cavs off balance with his barrage of three-pointers.

Golden State also held most players not named LeBron to subpar shooting nights. This includes Kevin Love (7-for-18), J.R. Smith (2-for-9), and Jeff Green (2-for-7).

It’s hard for Golden State to make adjustments, because there’s really not much to change. They crushed the Cavs in most facets of the game and will look to repeat this performance in Game 3. As long as the Warriors don’t go cold, then they have a strong chance to go up 3-0.

Final Thoughts on Cavs Warriors Game 3 Odds

One could argue that Cleveland should’ve won the first game. If not for a few plays that went against them down the stretch, this series could easily be 1-1.

But the Cavs can’t argue with much that occurred in Game 2, as they were thoroughly beaten. Changes are, though, that they come out with a lot of fire and make the next contest close.

Meanwhile, Golden State hasn’t been exceptional on the road in the 2018 NBA Playoffs. They claimed a Game 7 victory in Houston to get here, but that was with Rockets guard Chris Paul out. The road aspect is what creates a little drama here.

Look for LeBron to lead Cleveland in an inspired performance that captures the team’s first victory of the series.

Final Score Prediction: Cleveland wins 107-104 and covers their +4.5 spread

Klay Thompson Questionable for Game 2 of NBA Finals with Ankle Sprain

klay-thompson-ankle-sprain-game-2Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson has a high ankle sprain coupled with significant bruising. But he still hopes to play in Game 2 of the 2018 NBA Finals. He’s received around-the-clock treatment to prepare him for the game.

Thompson suffered the ankle sprain in Game 1, when he collided with Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith in the first quarter. Smith undercut Thompson after appearing to slip just beforehand.

Thompson would leave the game and return in the second quarter. He finished the contest with 24 points, including shooting 5-of-10 from beyond the three-point arc.

But the ankle got worse overnight and gave him significant trouble on Saturday. Reporters noted that Thompson was walking with a noticeable limp during the media day. He’s now listed as questionable on the injury report heading into Game 2.

Thompson “Pissed Off” After Injury

Klay Thompson is even less happy after watching replays of how his injury occurred.

klay-thompson-warriors“From watching that replay, it pissed me off,” he said. “That’s a tough play on the ball, and then just to tumble into somebody’s legs like that. You’ve got to move past it, but it’s just life, and I’m going to be better from it. It’s just a minor setback. But I don’t think it was intentional.”

Thompson went on to say that Smith apologized about the play. But he also seems mad about how everything went down.

“He was remorseful, so I don’t think he meant to do it. It just sucks. It’s a part of the game. It just sucks from the timing, during the Finals,” he explained.

“But no one’s going to feel sorry for us or me. So I’ve just got to do everything I possibly can these next 24 hours to be right for tomorrow.”

Thompson Optimistic about Game 2

Odds are that Klay Thompson will take the court at some point in Game 2. He’s hoping that it’ll loosen up by game time on Sunday night.

“Yeah, once you stop playing and you slow down and you’re not out there with the adrenaline, it’s naturally going to swell up a little bit,” said Thompson.

“If you don’t move as much as you were, it’s going to stiffen up. So just got to keep it loose at this point. Yeah, just trying to do everything I can to minimize that swelling. … I’m still optimistic for tomorrow, and I’m going to do everything I can today and tonight to get right.”

Smith Defends Play

While J.R. Smith was remorseful for the play, he also explained that it was a legitimate steal attempt.

“I was just trying to go for the ball,” he said. “It looked like an opportunity for me to get a steal. Unfortunately, I didn’t. I fouled him. They called the foul. I don’t know what more he was looking for.”

Iguodala Doubtful for Game 2

Golden State swingman Andre Iguodala is almost guaranteed to miss Game 2 of the 2018 NBA Finals. Iguodala has a bone bruise in his left leg and has missed five straight playoff games already.

iguodala-lebron-jamesIf Thompson also misses the game, Golden State will be down yet another player when trying to defend LeBron James. The latter scored a career-high 51 points on 19-of-32 shooting. Most of these points (30) came against Kevin Durant. But they also used a combination of Thompson, Draymond Green, and Kevon Looney to try and slow James.

“It’s a task for anyone, first off,” Green said. “And secondly, we’re going to play our brand of defense and figure it out from there.”

Cavs Warriors Odds for Game 2

Our GTBets odds have the Warriors at -11.5 on the spread and -658 on the moneyline. These odds are likely to drop even more if Thompson can’t play. But again, he’s listed as questionable and is optimistic that he can play.

Cleveland is listed at +11.5 on the spread and +472 on the moneyline. The game tips off at 8:00pm on Sunday night (June 3).

Kevin Love to Play Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals

kevin-love-concussion-game-7-concussionCleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love was in danger of missing Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals. He suffered a concussion in the sixth contest of the Eastern Conference Finals and was forced to miss Game 7 against the Boston Celtics.

Cleveland survived without him, earning an 87-79 victory to advance to the Finals. But they would have almost no chance against the defending champion Golden State Warriors without him.

The Cavs don’t have to worry about this, though, because Love has passed the league’s concussion protocol. This means that he’ll be available for tonight’s game.

Love bumped heads with Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum on a screen. Taytum was okay to continue playing, but Love was taken out of the game and also missed Game 6.

He participated in shooting drills on Wednesday. But it was only today that he was cleared to compete in the first Finals contest.

Jeff Green started in place of Love and delivered a strong Game 7 performance with 19 points. Green provided much-needed support for a team that’s been largely carried by LeBron James throughout the 2018 postseason.

According to ESPN, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue has already said that Love will recclaim his starting role if he passed the concussion protocol.

What will Love Give Cleveland against Golden State?

kevin-love-game-2-finals-2017Love is having a tough playoff run, averaging 13.9 points on just 38.8% shooting from the floor. Nevertheless, he’s the perfect center against Golden State, because he’s a versatile offensive player who can help Cleveland withstand the Warriors’ small ball lineup.

Love is also averaging 10.0 rebounds in the playoffs. And he played well against Golden State in both games this year, averaging 24.0 points and 12.5 rebounds per game.

Odds on Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals

The Cleveland Cavaliers may have gotten good news upon learning that Kevin Love will play in tonight’s game. But this doesn’t change the fact that they’re huge underdogs in the 2018 Finals.

Here are our GTBets odds on the first contest:

  • Cleveland Cavaliers +13 (-111); +707 moneyline
  • Golden State Warriors -13 (-107); -893 moneyline
  • Over 215 (-104)
  • Under 215 (-114)

The problem with Cleveland is that they don’t have a lot of star power outside of LeBron James.

Players like Green, Love, Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith can step up when needed. But they still don’t offer the consistent performances that stars have.

This is where Golden State differs greatly, because they have four All-Stars in Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. They also have a strong bench that includes Shaun Livingston, Andre Iguodala, and David West.

Some analysts question whether Cleveland can even win a game. In last year’s NBA Finals meeting between these teams, Golden State won handily in five games. The Cavs shot the lights out in the one contest that they did win.

Cleveland had All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving on their team last year, which gave them more of a chance to compete. This year will be an even tougher battle, because Love hasn’t played great and there are no other All-Star level players on the roster.

Steph Curry on LeBron’s Supporting Cast: “I Hate when People Say That”

lebron-steph-curryLeBron James has the NBA in awe right now after carrying his team past the Boston Celtics and into the 2018 NBA Finals. James willed his team to win a decisive Game 7 at TD Garden, earning him an eighth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals.

Many have praised LeBron, because he’s seen as carrying an unheralded roster to the Finals. This is especially the case in Game 7, where forward Kevin Love sat out with a concussion.

Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, who’ll be competing against LeBron again in the 2018 Finals, weighed in on the matter. Curry has a different take on James’ supporting cast than many others.

“I hate when people say that,” he said. “Like it’s — they’re NBA players, and yeah they’re new and what-not and ‘Bron is amazing, (and) he played an unbelievable playoff run to date and has willed his team to his eighth straight Finals and all that, which is unbelievable to think about the consistency and the longevity and just the level of greatness that he’s shown in the Eastern Conference.”

Curry added, “As a basketball fan, to turn on the TV last night and watch the game and there were points in the game where you didn’t know how it was going to play out and they found a way to get it done, so shout-out to him. It was an amazing performance, but don’t disrespect the other guys out there. They fought hard too.”

Who’s in LeBron’s Supporting Cast?

As much as the Cavaliers’ support has been bashed, they came through in Game 7 against Boston. Jeff Green scored 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting, JR Smith added 12 points, George Hill had a plus-24 rating, and Tristan Thompson had nine rebounds.

TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal noted that the Cavs didn’t get to the championship without contributions from players not named LeBron. And this reigned true in the deciding game of the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals.

But one reason why Cleveland’s role players are criticized is because some of the younger players haven’t provided much. Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr, and Rodney Hood all had larger roles on their previous teams. However, they’ve been footnotes on a Cavs team that’s making its eighth straight NBA Finals trip.

And it’s justified to say that LeBron does carry Cleveland often. He finished Game 7 with 35 points, 15 rebounds, and nine assists. His playoff production has been off the charts too, as he’s averaged 34.2 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 8.8 APG, and 1.4 steals in 18 contests.

Cavs Warriors Odds in 2018 NBA Finals

As good as LeBron has been, not many people are giving he and the Cavs a chance to compete against Golden State. This is clearly reflected in oour GTBets odds for Game 1, where Golden State is a -13 (-107) favorite on the spread. They’re also a -893 favorite on the moneyline, which is astronomical for a Finals matchup.

LeBron and his supporting crew will have to play their best basketball night in and night out if they want to pull off the upset. If they can accomplish this, it would be one of the greatest upsets in sports history.

Cavs MLK Loss to Warriors Creates Doubt Over Contender Status

cavs-in-troubleThe Cleveland Cavaliers suffered a 118-108 home loss to the Golden State Warriors on Monday. And afterward, several players on the team talked about the growing concern that they may not be able to fix their problems and compete for a championship.

ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reports that multiple players have concerns about their aging roster, redundant (3-point shooting) role players, and lack of defense.

All this has been evident in an up-and-down season for Cleveland, who started off 5-7, before winning 18 of their next 19 games. However, they’ve now lost nine of their past 12 contests, including the demoralizing loss to the warriors.

One might say that this is only a single game. But the loss to Golden State now drops Cleveland to 1-6 against the top three teams in both conferences. Their only victory against such an opponent was a win against Boston after Gordon Hayward broke his ankle.

Defense is the Biggest Problem

Last year, the Cavs were a poor defensive team that finally got better in the postseason. But this year, they’re absolutely dreadful, ranking 29th in defensive efficiency. They allow 109.3 points per 100 possessions.

In the last 20 years, no NBA team that’s finished in the bottom two in defensive efficiency has made the playoffs, let alone the NBA Finals.

If Cleveland continues at this rate, they’ll become the first such team to make the playoffs. After all, their offense has been good enough to give them a 26-17 record. But it’s highly unlikely that they can get through the Eastern Conference playing such bad defense.

Cavs Blew Lead Over Warriors

Despite the current discontent in the Cleveland locker room, they didn’t play too badly against the team with the league’s best record. In fact, the Cavs were actually leading by seven points at halftime.

But the Warriors turned on the jets from here, outscoring Cleveland 61-44 in the second half. The fourth quarter was a specially damming, given that Cleveland shot just 26.1% (6-for-23) from the floor.

While this was definitely a tough loss to take, LeBron James found solace in the fact the team put in a strong effort.

“It seemed like the rim just got smaller and smaller,” said James. “Like our effort tonight. If we continue on that, going into our next few games, then I like where we are.”

Still Room for Improvement

isaiah-thomas-cavs-warriorsThe first time Cleveland played Golden State, they didn’t have the services of Tristan Thompson (calf) and Isaiah Thomas (hip). But both players were on the court against the Warriors this time around. And they couldn’t make a big enough difference to swing the tide in Cleveland’s favor.

Nevertheless, there’s still some improvement to be made here. This is especially the case when considering that Thomas, has only been back for five games, played his most minutes (32) last night.

“I just want him to take the shots that are given to him,” said Cleveland Coach Tyronn Lue. “Not forcing shots, but if someone, whoever is on the team that can shoot the basketball, if they’re open 21 times, then take your shots. It’s not about the amount of shots, it’s the amount of good shots. If they’re your shots then you’ve got to be ready to take them.”

Thomas has drawn a lot of comparisons to Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving, who was involved in the trade that sent Thomas to Cleveland. Right now, Irving and the Celtics hold the number one spot in the East, while Cleveland is currently fielding questions about their team chemistry.

However, it’s a little unfair to compare the two right now when considering that Thomas is still trying to get into the swing of things.

“[It could take me] 15 to 20 games or maybe a month,” Thomas said in regard to getting “back to the level that [I am] used to playing at.”

Rose and Shumpert Currently Out

Guards Derrick Rose and Iman Shumpert are currently out with injuries. And they’ll add to the rotation when they’re healthy enough to return.

Of course, they could also further complicate a rotation that’s already in disarray. After all, Lue still has yet to figure out a lineup that can both score and shut down opposing offenses.

Cavs Trade Coming?

derrick-rose-lebronCleveland isn’t getting any younger. And there’s no defensive help on the way either. The Cavs will play better around the postseason – like always – but will it be enough?

Kevin Love can’t protect the rim when he plays center, Thomas is a defensive liability, and the rest of the roster is past its defensive peak.

Offensively, Cleveland doesn’t have a clear playmaker when LeBron sits. Thomas could be this when he’s healthy. But what happens when both sit?

Dwyane Wade, Rose, and Jose Calderon aren’t elite playmakers, while J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver are merely spot-up shooters. Then you have Jae Crowder, who’s having his worst season in years.

The important thing to remember here is that Cleveland is still 26-17 and looking like a middle seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, at worst.

But they certainly don’t look like any real challenger to the Warriors. They might not even be good enough to make it out of the East. And this would be a first within the past four years.

This is why GM Koby Altman might make a big trade before the deadline. I discussed the potential scenario where they acquire center DeAndre Jordan from the Clippers. But this would mean that they’d have to give up the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

Word now is that they want to keep it in case LeBron bolts in free agency. But the players would no doubt like to see Altman use this asset to better the team, especially with what’s going on now.

Cleveland still has over three months before the playoffs begin to get things right. That said, it’ll be interesting to see if they can swing a good trade or find a really effective lineup before then.

Can Klay Thompson Step Up in the 2017 NBA Finals?

Much has been made about the Golden State Warriors’ Big 4 all season.

Adding Kevin Durant to a lineup that already includes Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green has been devastating for opponents. That said, it’s little reason why they’re favored by 7 points in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

But if there’s one chink in the armor as they face the Cleveland Cavaliers, it’s been the been Thompson’s postseason drop-off.

Many analysts wondered if Curry and Durant could integrate their games together. But in reality, it’s been Thompson who’s struggling to adapt since he has the ball less.

His 2017 playoff numbers tell the story:

  • 2015-16 Playoffs – 24.3 PPG; 44.4% shooting; 42.4% three-point shooting; 18.9 shot attempts
  • 2016-17 Playoffs – 14.4 PPG; 38.3% shooting; 36.4% three-point shooting; 13.9 shot attempts

Now, compare this to his regular season numbers, which are virtually identical year to year:

  • 2015-16 Season – 22.1 PPG; 47.0% shooting; 42.5% three-point shooting; 17.3 shot attempts
  • 2016-17 Season – 22.3 PPG; 46.8% shooting; 41.4% three-point shooting; 17.6 shot attempts

As you can see, there’s been little change between Thompson’s regular seasons with Durant on the team. But the postseason has been an entirely different story.

Why have Thompson’s Numbers Suddenly Fallen?

The easy explanation for Klay’s declining production would be that Curry and Durant are taking more shots in the postseason. But one look at the numbers disproves this theory:

  • Curry Regular Season Attempts = 18.3 shots per game
  • Curry Postseason Attempts = 18.4 shots per game
  • Durant Regular Season Attempts = 16.5 shots per game
  • Durant Postseason Attempts = 16.0 shots per game

Curry and Durant are actually averaging 0.4 fewer attempts combined than they did in the regular season. Perhaps a better explanation can be seen in how the team’s overall shot attempts have been limited:

  • Golden State Regular Season Attempts = 87.1 shots per game
  • Golden State Postseason Attempts = 85.3 shots per game

This doesn’t entirely explain why Thompson is taking 5 fewer shots in the playoffs. But it at least shows that Golden State has 1.8 fewer attempts to go around each game.

How will Thompson Play in the 2017 NBA Finals?

klay-thompson-2017-playoff-strugglesThompson’s numbers have gotten worse as the playoffs have progressed. TNT analyst Charles Barkley noted this point when predicting that the Cavaliers will win the Finals. Here’s what Barkley had to say on Thompson:

“I think Klay is the best 2-guard in the league … If you go and actually look, I’m watching games and I’m watching things … The problem is that he doesn’t get the ball anymore. He has become the guy who never gets the ball.

“He can’t get in rhythm. Listen, the guy saved them against Oklahoma City last year. He didn’t get bad all of the sudden. He’s a great shooter, but he cannot get in rhythm because of those guys. And listen, I just think the Cavaliers, LeBron is on a mission. I like the Cavs in six.”

Perhaps Barkley’s point about Thompson not getting in rhythm is the key. And given his plunging shooting percentage – including 32.7% during the San Antonio series – something has changed from the regular season.

In addition to being out of rhythm, Thompson has likely lost confidence. He started the playoffs shooting poorly against the Trail Blazers, hitting 38.8% of his attempts. Then Thompson rebounded against Utah to shoot 46.2%. But the relapsed against San Antonio.

It’s hard to say which Thompson will show up for the 2017 NBA Finals. But Golden State will certainly be hoping that it’s the Thompson they’ve come to trust.

Warriors vs Cavs Odds

If you haven’t already bet on Cleveland vs Golden State, keep in mind that you can do so right here at GTBets.eu. Assuming you’re looking for betting advice, refer to this article, where we discuss why the Cavaliers will win the NBA Finals in six games.

And no, we didn’t just rip this prediction off from Barkley!