The 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
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
Overtime 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
Twitter 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