Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, June 10, 2015 at 7:00 PM
That may have been the most dramatic turnaround we’ve ever seen in an NBA Finals. Cleveland was metaphorically dead and buried after losing Game One and Kyrie Irving. Golden State was priced at -700 to win the series! Two straight Cavaliers victories…and now we have a pick-em series that has many pundits wondering if the wrong team has been favored all along.
Well…given that we’ve had two overtime ties and one Cleveland victory, the wrong team HAS been favored all along!
Golden State’s faithful are no longer sure of themselves. Instead of wondering where they’ll park when attending the celebration parade, they’re wondering:
*If this offense will ever figure out how to score on Cleveland’s intense defense
*If there’s a way to get rid of that pest Dellavedova!
*If Andrew Bogut will ever figure out how to be a plus instead of a minus in this matchup
*If anyone can make some three-pointers when Steph Curry is misfiring
Though it looks like a two-game slump. It’s really been an extended case of the blah’s for Golden State outside of one huge blowout in Houston. They’re not playing like champions. They’re playing like a decent team that gets red hot every so often. You don’t win the NBA Finals that way because it’s difficult to get red hot four times in seven games against elite opposition. Now it needs to be three times in four games!
Here are the key numbers from Tuesday night’s Cleveland victory…
GAME THREE STATS
Cleveland 96, Golden State 91
Shooting Pct: Golden State 40%, Cleveland 46%
Three-Pointers: Golden State 12/34, Cleveland 9/21
Free Throws: Golden State 7/12, Cleveland 17/24
Rebounds: Golden State 46, Cleveland 43
Turnovers: Golden State 14, Cleveland 14
Vegas Line: Golden State by 2, total of 195
Golden State was horrible offensively for three quarters, but then scored 36 points in the fourth to reach 91 total points. Hard for a full-game boxscore to capture that dynamic properly. The basic principal is still true…Golden State is in great shape when their treys are falling…horrible shape when they’re not. And, it doesn’t do them any good if they don’t get hot until they’re behind by 20 points!
Another basic principal that’s holding up…Cleveland is the better team in the first 40-45 minutes of each game…but then runs out of gas in crunch time. They stole an overtime win despite that in Game Two (after blowing a double digit fourth quarter lead). They almost choked Game Three away…and probably would have if not for a circus shot from Delly that turned into a three-point play.
If Cleveland can figure out how to keep their wits and their legs in crunch time…they really can win this series. Something that seemed impossible just a few days ago. But, if Golden State starts making 12-15 treys per game as the Cavs wear down…then the pre-series favorite can right their ship and take this series in six or seven games.
Thursday’s Game Four Line: Golden State by 2.5, total of 193
The market expects some ship-righting given that price. Though, the market has overshot Golden State by 6, 8, and 7 points at the end of regulation so far in this series. That happened in three of the first four games in GS/Houston as well (market misses by 6, 8, and 18 points), though the Warriors survived. Let’s mention that the market’s misery with Over/Unders continued in Game Three as well. Even with a 60-point fourth quarter, that one stayed Under by 8 points. That’s why 195 has fallen to 193. We’re now down 11 points from the Game One estimate of 204 points…and we still haven’t had a regulation Over yet.
JIM HURLEY knows this is developing into one of the biggest Las Vegas sports betting events in many summers. He’ll leave no stone unturned when trying to find a winner (side, total, or both) in Thursday’s much anticipated showdown. You can purchase the final word for Thursday (plus bonus baseball) right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service or combination packages, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours.
Basketball and baseball continues to alternate here in the NOTEBOOK. Look at these great features coming up in the next week…
Friday: MLB Interleague Series Preview…Kansas City Royals at St. Louis Cardinals
Saturday: NBA Game Five Championship Preview (stays up all weekend)
Monday: MLB Interleague Series Preview…LA Dodgers at Texas Rangers
Tuesday: NBA Game Six Championship Preview (if necessary) or more MLB Interleague notes (all 30 teams in IL play next week!)
Wednesday: MLB Big Game Preview…either Tampa Bay at Washington, St. Louis at Minnesota or San Francisco at Seattle
Thursday: Either NBA Game Seven Championship Preview or MLB Notes
Can LeBron James bring a championship to Cleveland? Can young Golden State solve a few mysteries in time to start their own league legacy? When championships are on the line, you need WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!
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