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

Warriors vs Rockets Game 4 Betting: Can Golden State Sweep?

warriors-vs-rocketsThe first two games of the playoff series between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets were really close, with Game 2 actually coming down to the wire. But as for Game 3, well, many have accused the Rockets of giving up on their home floor during a 115-80 loss. Of course, Steph Curry scoring 40 points amid 7-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc can definitely make you want to give up. So do the Rockets have any fight in them for the next game while trying to avoid a sweep? We’ll discuss this, but first, let’s look at the Game 4 betting line:

Game Time: Monday (May 25th) at 9:00pm ET on ESPN Betting Line:
Golden State -5 (-110)     Over 213.5 (-110)
Houston (-110)                Under 213.5 (-110)

It’s interesting to see that the Warriors are favored by 5 points on our betting line, despite playing Game 4 in Houston against an embarrassed Rockets team looking to avoid elimination. So is there any chance of them avoiding this elimination, or are they destined to be crushed once again? Let’s answer this question by looking at a few points to keep in mind for Game 4.

1. It’s Impossible for Houston to win when Curry shoots like this

Steph Curry is already the MVP, so you know he’s good. But what Curry has done in these playoffs shooting-wise is inhuman – especially when he drained 7-of-9 three-pointers last game. Considering the fact that he also shoots floaters very well and makes his free throws, there’s nothing Houston can do when he also hits 77.7% from beyond the arc. And it’s not like some of these are easy shots either.

2. Klay Thompson continues to struggle, but it’s not affecting Anything

NBA: Houston Rockets at Golden State WarriorsGone unnoticed in Curry’s torching of the Rockets is that Klay Thompson hasn’t been his usual accurate self. He went a combined 2-of-14 on three’s in the first two games of the series, then only slightly improved with a 2-of-8 shooting performance from three-point range last game. Perhaps Thompson’s off-shooting is the only thing that kept Houston in the first couple games.

3. Harrison Barnes missed All 9 Shots…Again, it didn’t matter

Just to reiterate the impressive display by Curry, the 115 points by GS, and their 35-point margin of victory, consider that Harrison Barnes took nine shots in Game 3, and missed every single one of them. Going further, in almost 30 minutes on the floor, he didn’t score a single point, yet he was +14 during this time. Normally if you have a starter log this kind of stat line, the best you can hope for is a gritty last-second victory – not a 35-point blowout.

james-harden4. James Harden lost his MVP Argument

Given that he had better numbers and his team finished with the West’s second-best record, Harden had a legitimate gripe about not winning the MVP this year – although Curry was a more-than-deserving winner. And this series was a chance for Harden to prove that it should have been him hosting the trophy. Unfortunately, his play officially lost him this argument in Game 3, where he went 3-for-16 and was -31 during his time on the floor.

5. This Series is Over, but Houston can get Some Pride Back

Based on everything that we’ve discussed here, coupled with the fact that no team has come back from a 3-0 deficit, this series might as well end now. However, Houston does have a chance to recoup some of their pride by winning Game 4 on their home court. They did, after all, turn things around and beat the L.A. Clippers last round. And while that certainly won’t happen here, they can at least take one victory.

Final Score Prediction: Houston 108 – Golden State 105