Warriors vs Cavaliers – Free NBA Finals Game 4 Pick
The Cleveland Cavaliers had their backs against the wall in a crucial game three at home on Wednesday night. They responded well enough, as LeBron James hit 10 of his first 11 shots and the Cavs led for the majority of the second half.
Things didn’t go quite as planned to close the game out, however, as James went ice cold down the stretch and Cleveland settled for long jumpers. The Warriors took advantage by erasing a five-point deficit late and closing the game out with a 11-0 run. Kevin Durant pulled up in front of LeBron James with ice in his veins, nailing a clutch three to take a lead that Golden State would never relinquish.
It was easily the best game of these 2017 NBA Finals, but despite how well the Cavs played, poor defense and questionable offense doomed them. For a team that came back from a 3-1 lead in last year’s Finals, it’s tough to say it’s for sure over for Cleveland, but if there was ever a chance to locate a weakness in Golden State’s armor, Wednesday provided it.
Instead of making this a clear series and cutting the lead to 2-1 just like they did last season, the Cavs fell into a 3-0 hole that no team has ever emerged from on the NBA Finals stage. History didn’t scare off the Cavs last year, but against this Warriors team, the lights may finally be going out.
So, how does that have NBA bettors planning for game four? Let’s take a look:
I still don’t think we can completely ignore the Cavs going into Friday’s second stop in Quicken Loans Arena. They came in strong during the first two games at the Oracle Arena and almost put a complete game together on their home floor in game three.
The Dubs are obviously the better team, but the gap isn’t as wide as some may make it seem and if the Cavs can avoid mistakes, they do have the ability to put pressure on Golden State. Stopping the Warriors hasn’t been the goal, though. Even when the Warriors turn the ball over or struggle a bit from the floor, they still find a way to get their buckets. The Warriors have scored at least 113 points in all three games in this series and that simply isn’t stopping anytime soon.
It’s troubling that Cleveland has only matched that point total twice in their three losses, but even worse is how bad their defense has been. They probably can’t help it with so many different elite options to account for, but the facts are the facts; Golden State can kill the Cavs in any way they like and they’re playing with the cool and calm demeanor of a seasoned assassin.
I can still see LeBron James and Kyrie Irving coming out ablaze and carrying their team to one big win at home. That can happen, especially if Kevin Love actually shows up and some role players knock down a few more shots.
It’s not impossible, but that already happened and the Cavs still lost. Golden State saw Cleveland’s best shot and responded with a late run to crush their souls. James admitted following the defeat that he’s exhausted and despite suggesting in the past that he wants this just as bad as the Warriors do, it’s really starting to look like that isn’t the case.
Cleveland is dangerously close to that team that realizes it’s fate and is already thinking about a way to respond next year. They do have one last gasp at home and with this team, a big game four home win could still completely change this series. It just isn’t likely. Kevin Durant has a title within his grasp and the team he joined up against all scrutiny is prepared to help him realize the ultimate NBA goal.
It’s possible the Cavs rise up and annoy us by flipping the script and keeping this series going, but what to this point leads us to truly buy it? Cleveland has yet to even beat the spread in any game in the Finals and now the Dubs have a chance to finish them off. We can reapproach this series if Cleveland prolongs it, but at this point that’s no longer where the smart money is. The Cavs could come back with the same intensity we’ve seen out of them, but as this game unfolds, it wouldn’t be shocking to see them fade. That could lead to the Dubs just barely beating the spread once again, or closing this thing out with a blowout.
Either way, logic sides with the Dubs ending this thing tonight and doing so by a solid enough margin. We can take the Dubs to cover here, while we also can attack the Total given how frenetic the pace has been in this series.