Cleveland (0-1) at Golden State (1-0)
When: Sunday, June 5th 2016
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: ABC
The Cleveland Cavaliers did a great job of shutting down the Golden State Warriors’ top two stars, but forgot about the rest of the deep and talented team and dropped Game 1 of the NBA Finals by 15 points. Golden State got 20 combined points from Steph Curry (11) and Klay Thompson (9), but the bench outscored the Cavaliers reserves 45-10. Shaun Livingston (6.3 points regular season) poured in 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting while Andre Iguodala had 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. Golden State held the Cavaliers to 38.1% from the field and only turned the ball over nine times in Game 1, with just one of those turnovers coming from the reserves. Iguodala, Livingston and Leandro Barbosa combined to shoot 18-of-24 from the field to pick up the slack for their star teammates. Draymond Green recorded 16 points and 11 rebounds in Game 1 for his third double-double in the last four games. The Warriors have won six straight games against the Cavaliers dating back to last season’s Finals.
LeBron James went for 23 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists in Game 1 but needs to get help from his bench and for his team not to turn the ball over as much. “When you’re outscored 45-10 in bench points and give up 25 points off turnovers, you’re not winning that game,” James told reporters. LeBron James’ teams have been pretty good at bouncing back after Game 1 losses. Since 2009, James is 9-0 after losing Game 1 of a Playoff series including 4-0 in the NBA Finals. Cleveland took Games 2 and 3 in the Finals last year after dropping Game 1 to Golden State. The Cavaliers are averaging 13.9 made 3-pointers in the playoffs – tops in the NBA – but went 7-of-21 from beyond the arc in Game 1 as Channing Frye (0-of-1 in seven minutes off the bench) and J.R. Smith (1-of-3 in 36 minutes) struggled to get good looks. Kyrie Irving had 26 points, but just four assists and was 1-of-4 from beyond the arc.
I really don’t care what LeBron’s record is in Game 2’s. This Golden State team is on a roll and can blow anyone out at home. Look for Curry and Thompson to go nuts and just as I predicted in Game 1, the Cavs will keep it close for three quarters, then the Warriors will take over and win by double-digits.
Pick: Warriors -6.5