NBA Finals Preview: The Cleveland Cavaliers are reminding everyone that they are now in the same spot as last year’s finals where they made history after being down 3-1 in the series.
#2 Cleveland Cavaliers (64-35) at #1 Golden State Warriors (82-16) at, Monday, 9 p.m. EST
Line: Warriors -8.5. Total 230.5.
Series: Warriors lead 3-1.
The defending champions got up off the mat in Game 4 and routed the Warriors 137-116. The Cavaliers outscored the Warriors in all four quarters. The stats for the game were fairly even, except for three-pointers made and three-point shooting percentage.
Golden State set an NBA Finals record in Game 2 with 18 three-pointers made. The Cavaliers shattered that record just five days later in Game 4 with 24 three-pointers made. Cleveland outscored the Warriors by 39 points from beyond the arc in Game 4. Golden State shot 28.2% while the Cavs shot 53.3% from three-point land.
Kyrie Irving was unstoppable for the Cavaliers. Irving had 40 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists while shooting 7-for-12 from three-point land. LeBron James messed around and got a triple-double and was a +32 in the plus/minus column. King James had 31 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds and 3 three-pointers made. Kevin Love had 23 points and was 6-for-8 from beyond the arc, while JR Smith was 5-for-9 from three-point land for all 15 of his points.
Virtually all the other team stats for the game were even. The teams were separated by 4 or less in rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, turnovers, fast break points and points in the paint. The Cavaliers simply shot the rock better than Golden State.
However, is Cleveland going to hit 24 three-pointers again in Game 5? That is highly unlikely. Will James and Irving combine to score over 70 points for a third straight game? They are capable and may have to for the Cavs to extend the series to a Game 6.
The talking heads on television and writers are practically begging for the Cavaliers to get back into this series. Anything is possible as Cleveland looked unbeatable in Game 4 and they should have won Game 3. There are plenty of people writing about how the Cavaliers can win this series.
I would rather listen to Stephen Curry, who said that whoever establishes the tone of the game in the first six minutes usually wins the game. Curry is right as whoever won the first quarter also won the game. Cleveland set records for most points in the first quarter (49) and first half (86) in Game 4. The 49 points in the first quarter is the most points scored in any quarter in NBA Finals history while the 86 points in the first half is a new record for most points scored in a half in NBA Finals history.
The Cavs were aggressive getting to the free-throw line in the first quarter of Game 4. Cleveland shot 14-for-22 from the charity stripe, which is an impressive stat considering they only shot 9 free throws the rest of the game. Love scored 14 points, Irving scored 11 points, while LeBron added 8 points and 6 assists in the first quarter.
From a handicapping perspective, we have to look at the first quarter going over the Vegas total again. The pace was fast again in the first quarter of Game 4 at 27.17. If you project that out over four quarters, that would be a pace of 108.7. The pace for the game ended up being 96.1 in Game 4, which is all the evidence you need to see how much faster the pace was in the first quarter. Every first quarter in this series has gone over. The totals have been 65, 74, 71 and 82.
The win for the Cavaliers in Game 4 snapped a 16-game winning streak for Golden State. The Warriors were 15-0 in the postseason before that loss. Golden State is now 30-2 in their last 32 games.
LeBron is averaging a triple-double in this series with 31.8 points, 10.5 assists and 11.8 rebounds per game. Irving is averaging 30.3 points, 4 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game, while Love is averaging 18.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game.
For Golden State, Kevin Durant is averaging 34.3 points, 5.5 assists and 8.5 rebounds per game, while Curry is averaging 25 points, 9.3 assists and 8.5 rebounds per game. Draymond Green is averaging 11.3 points, 4.5 assists and 9.8 rebounds per game, while Klay Thompson is averaging 17.8 points, 2.3 assists and 5 rebounds per game.
My postseason record: 17-7 (+$845).
Strong lean towards the Cleveland / Golden State over 61 in the first quarter.
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