Game 3 Can Change Everything For The Cavs
After games 1 and 2 of the NBA Finals, it’s tough for fans to imagine this series going much further. The Warriors have thoroughly dominated and have controlled just about every aspect of each of the first two games of their series. LeBron James looks frustrated as he has received little help thus far from his teammates. Kevin Love has been good, not great, Kyrie seems hesitant to take risks, and Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith, and Kyle Korver must have forgotten that they are professional basketball players because they just look lost on the court and have done nothing.
That being said, it’s completely plausible that the Cavs figure out the formula to beat the Dubs on their home court at the Quicken Loans Arena. As a matter of fact, the Cavs have pulled off Game 3 upsets in back to back years against the Warriors in the finals. They beat Golden State 96 to 91 after being a 2 point underdog in 2015, and again beat them 120 to 90 after being a 1.5 point underdog in last year’s finals.
Many people point to Draymond Green’s suspension and obviously Kyrie Irving’s shot that proved to be the game-winner as being the two biggest reasons as to why the Cavs pulled out the series in 2016 but them dominating on their home court in Game 3 could be argued to have had just as much of an impact.
The Warriors are also aware of the fact that they have had trouble in Game 3’s, telling ESPN.com that “Game 3 has been a little rough for us historically — and especially in this building,”
Game 3 NBA Finals Betting Odds
With the history being what it is, who’s to say the Cavs can’t continue that trend and take their first game at home in this series. The oddsmakers don’t seem to be taking that into account though as the Cavs will have their biggest Game 3 point spread at 4 points. This Golden State team is a different beast that they have been in the past. After adding former MVP Kevin Durant to a lineup that already consists of a two-time MVP, a defensive player of the year finalist, and one of the best catch and shoot players in the NBA, most people predicted that this team would be unbeatable when they got to the playoffs, and so far that has been the case.
The Warriors are an unbelievable 14 and 0 in the playoffs so far. At this point, just one victory for the Cavs would be an accomplishment but the odds are drastically against them. Bovada lists the Cavaliers moneyline odds at +145 while the Dubs sit comfortably at -165. Not only that but the total that has been posted for Game 3 is way up at over/under 227. Against the spread, the Warriors are 10 and 4 and their average margin of victory is an astonishing 17 points per game.
How The Cavs Can Win Game 3
I think if one thing has been proved thus far this series is that Cleveland cannot win a shootout with Golden State. For them to have any chance at continuing their trend of nabbing Game 3’s then they are going to have to do it on the defensive side of the ball. They have been falling asleep in the paint and allowing too many easy buckets and it might sound crazy but closing out on the driving man and allowing them to find open guys on the perimeter may be the best way to contain them.
The Warriors have shot 30 of 76 from 3 in this series which is only good for 39% from 3. While that isn’t the worst number in the world, that is pretty low for the Dubs. The Cavs should see if they can force them to continue the bad rhythm beyond the arc instead of allowing easy layups and fast break dunks.
It certainly won’t be easy though. The NBA Finals betting odds show that the Warriors are six times more likely to sweep the Cavs and go undefeated in the playoffs than Cleveland is to make another historic comeback. It’s tough to think that King James could be swept in the Finals so Game 3 may still be a good bet, even if the lines for sports betting in Ohio say it isn’t.
Game 3 will air on ABC at 9 pm Eastern time.
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