Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, June 11, 2015 at 12:00 AM
THE NBA FINALS REPORT:
HERE'S YOUR GAME 4 PREVIEW
AS THE WARRIORS LOOK TO
"GET EVEN" WITH THE FRISKY CAVS…
PLUS NFL NEWS & NOTES
Here's the really strange part of this year's NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors – a better-than-2-to-1 betting favorite prior to the start of this best-of-seven series – and the Cleveland Cavaliers:
The better the underdog Cavs play, it seems the less they are respected by the all-knowing Las Vegas oddsmakers.
Go figure, right?
The truth is Cleveland should have covered all three of this year's NBA Finals games – that eight-point overtime loss in Game 1 as 5.5-point pups was a real wagering crime, if you as us – and now we head into tonight's Game 4 bash at Quicken Loans Arena (a/k/a "The Q") and the Warriors are listed as a 2.5-point road betting favorite even though it was the Cavaliers that come off a 96-91 win in Game 3 while snatching up the 2-point betting price.
Maybe LeBron James and the rest of the somewhat nameless/faceless Cavs are never gonna run out of energy in this championship series – or maybe MVP Stephen Curry and the high-octane Warriors are finally gonna click and trounce an opponent as they did in many of their 67 regular-season wins and often times in their 15 post-season victories (note Golden State has won eight playoff games by twin-figure margins so far).
Still, as our Jim Sez Playoff Pointspread Breakdown Chart showed following Game 3, the G-State Warriors now are just 8-10 ATS (against the spread) this post-season and that's usually not the prescribed formula to "win it all".
Here's our Game 4 preview …
NBA FINALS – Game 4
GOLDEN STATE at CLEVELAND – 9:10 p.m. ET, ABC, Cavaliers lead series 2-1
It was interesting to read the comments made by James prior to Game 3 as he moaned about the fact Cleveland was being allowed fewer down time "at home" than the Warriors here – remember the teams had two full days off in between Game 1 and Game 2 at Golden State – as the short-handed Cavs had to play with just a single day off prior to both Game 3 and Game 4 but we looked it up and Cleveland is a respectable 6-5 versus the vig playing with just one off day between games this post-season and sure seems as if playing 48 hours after that emotional Game 3 win will be a plus for the Cavs and their starving fan base.
But, in reality, chuck out the "rest time" chatter and concentrate on the following issues as we head into tonight's Game 4:
The Warriors – who have lacked energy and a sense of urgency for much of the first three games – must get out to a strong start here and so expect Golden State's rookie head coach Steve Kerr to try and ramp up the pace with more presses/traps and such while attempting to get his players more "engaged". If the Warriors score fewer than 25 points in the first quarter of this "must-win" game than the Western Conference champions really have a problem on their hands.
True, the stepped-up pace could well lead to some easy hoops by King James – he is averaging a hefty 41 points per game thus far in these Finals but he's become a real "volume shooter" along the way – and the rest of the Cavs but the truth is Golden State needs to step on the gas and makes things happen … if Curry and backcourt mate Klay Thompson don't have a combined 30-or-more points between 'em at halftime here, we'll say the Warriors will be playing catch-up once again come the fourth quarter.
Secondly, Cleveland was able to get away with a quiet 6-point game from C Timofey Mozgov and a 3-point game from Iman Shumpert in that Game 3 win but both of these guys are gonna have to contribute some offense here even if Shumpert's shoulder is hurting from that Draymond Green screen in the first quarter of Tuesday's game.
Hey, you don't really think Cavs' coach David Blatt can count on another 20-point game from daredevil guard Matthew Dellavedova, do you?
Finally, the starting front line of the Warriors did absolutely nothing in that Game 3 loss – the combined efforts of Green, Andrew Bogut and no-show F Harrison Barnes teamed up for a stat line of 11 points, 16 rebounds and 4 assists in 66 man-minutes of action – and unless one or two of these guys has a snap-out-of-it game here, we believe the Warriors will be heading back home down three games-to-one.
Then what's Las Vegas gonna do with that Game 5 price? Hmmm.
Now, here's the Warriors-Cavaliers series in game chart form (and note that all home teams are in CAPS below):
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers keep banging out winners in this year's NBA Finals and so just go online right here at www.jimhurley.com or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 each/every day of these NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers (Game 4 is tonight and Game 5 is Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET) and cash in once again.
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NFL NEWS & NOTES
There's camps open all around the NFL and so let's take a peek inside …
The Houston Texans – the soon-to-be subjects of this year's HBO's Hard Knocks this summer of 2015 – have fingers crossed that WR DeAndre Hopkins will be ready for training camp in late July after suffering a late-season wrist injury a year ago.
Last year Hopkins snagged 76 receptions for 1,210 yards with 6 TDs and this year he won't have sidekick WR Andre Johnson (85 catches last year) who is playing for the Indianapolis Colts these days. Got a feeling the HBO cameras will be trained on Hopkins along with the likes of defensive end J.J. Watt …
Last year the New Orleans Saints finished out of the post-season for the second time in three years and one major reason why Sean Payton's club staggered to a 7-9 SU (straight-up) and 6-10 ATS campaign was a defense that ranked next-to-last in the NFL in overall defense (29th versus the rush and 25th versus the pass) and so injury woes to defensive "stoppers" is one way to upset Payton and staff and news comes out that LB Junior Gallette injured his pectoral last week and needs R&R if he's gonna participate in the summer camp in late July. Last year Gallette collected 10 sacks and finished with 45 tackles …
Finally, all eyes in Arizona are on QB Carson Palmer who suffered a season-ending injury last November. Palmer returned to practice this past Tuesday and even participated in the team's 11-on-11 drills and head coach Bruce Arians – ever the optimist – claimed that of the 100 passes that Palmer threw during the practice "he only had one bad one". Palmer didn't think he was quite as good as the coach said but just getting the one-time Heisman Trophy winner back on the field was a positive step for the Cardinals.
NOTE: There's more NBA Finals coverage in the next edition of Jim Sez!