Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors (-8, 201.5 o/u)
After 48 inspiring minutes of basketball, the Cleveland Cavaliers entered overtime confident they could steal the series opener in hostile territory. What followed may someday take its place in Cleveland sports low-lights alongside The Fumble, The Shot, and Red Right 88. The Cavaliers choked away Game 1 by missing missed their first eight shots and committing three turnovers. Adding injury to insult, the team potentially lost Kyrie Irving as the point guard hobbled off the court late in the extra frame.
Now the Cavs will try to regroup for Game 2 tomorrow at ORACLE Arena (8:00 PM Eastern). But, if Irving can’t go, LeBron James will face a near impossible task, as the Cavs already lost Kevin Love for the playoffs.
There wasn’t much more that James could do to help this team in Game 1, finishing with 44 points, eight rebounds, and six assists. For this team to stand a chance, other players will need to step up; but for a team that only played eight men on Thursday night, it seems unlikely that a guy like Matthew Dellavedova will ride that white horse.
Bench depth really was the difference maker in Game 1; Golden State had 34 bench points to Cleveland’s nine. Veteran Andre Iguodala brought the biggest spark to the team, scoring 15 points and playing the entire fourth quarter and overtime, including defending LBJ on the final shot of regulation.
Steph Curry and Klay Thompson had a solid if not spectacular night for the Warriors, scoring 26 and 21 respectively while shooting a combined 5-15 from beyond the arc. The duo can certainly do even more damage if Irving’s inspired defense is absent in Game 2.
Yes, what was already a series tipped in the Warriors favor has gone full Titanic in their direction. Lebron may be the best, but unless he never comes off the court, Cleveland won’t be making a return trip to Golden State. It took the Warriors 53 minutes before they finally covered in Game 1; don’t expect that kind of tension in Game 2. Golden State should run the Cavs over, but hit on the under.
Pick: Warriors (-8).
(Photo credit: Keith Allison (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode]. Photo has been cropped.)