Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers (-3.5, 215.5 o/u)
Tonight’s matchup of the Golden State Warriors (44-10, 20-8 away) at the Cleveland Cavaliers (36-22, 21-9 home) is being hyped as a potential preview of the NBA Finals.
Invariably, it’s bound to be a more interesting game than the last time these two teams squared off in January; that time, Golden State waltzed to a 112-94 win at home over a LeBron James-less Cavaliers.
“Everybody’s going to be healthy [this time],” said Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving. “It’s going to be a great test, two great teams going at it. A lot of great matchups within the game, this is what you look forward to as a competitor.”
The Cavs come in on a roll, winning three straight by an average of 21.7 points and holding all three opponents to 93 or fewer.
“Defense is our mark, and we understand that,” James said. “When we defend at a high level, we put ourselves in a position to win every night and be successful long-term.”
James, who had 19 points, 11 assists, and seven rebounds in a recent win over the Detroit Pistons, became the all-time leader among forwards for assists in that game.
“That means a tremendous amount to me,” James said. “I have always taken so much pride in my passing game. To me, the greatest rush has always been helping my teammates succeed, not succeeding myself.”
As for Golden State, it started its six-game road trip this past weekend with a loss in Indiana. While Stephen Curry didn’t play in that game due to an ankle injury, he returned on Tuesday with 32 points to help his team defeat Washington, 114-107.
“It’s still not pain free, but it felt fine,” Curry said. “Once you start playing the adrenalin kicks in and you don’t feel anything. It was good to just break a sweat in the first quarter, and feel active and not limited at all.”
The Warriors continue to own the best record in the NBA and have won five of their last six.
Golden State has been tremendous on the road all season, going 21-9 SU on the year (while Cleveland is a very similar 20-8 at home). Taking Golden State to win (+150) looks like decent value.
(Photo credit: Keith Allison (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode]. Photo has been cropped.)