Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, June 9, 2017 at 3:43 PM
THE NBA FINALS UPDATE: WARRIORS SHOOT FOR HISTORIC WIN TONIGHT IN GAME 4...
IS THERE ANYTHING AT ALL LEFT IN THE CAVALIERS' TANK? ...THE BASEBALL REPORT: WHAT TO WATCH FOR THIS JUNE WEEKEND
Let's really put things into pointspread perspective as we head into tonight's Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals:
The Golden State Warriors - now ready/willing/quite able to complete their 16-and-oh SU (straight-up) post-season - are an electric 11-4 ATS (against the spread) during these playoffs, good for a spiffy .733 winning rate.
Now consider that the Las Vegas oddsmakers seemingly might not be able to go high enough with tonight's spread - right now it's visiting Golden State minus 6 or 6.5 points, depending on your particular locale - and keep in mind the Warriors are a very tidy 8-4 versus the vig whenever laying 7-or-more points this post-season (you can look it up!).
So, with history on the line and a Cavs club that knows - J.R. Smith tweets notwithstanding ("Cavs in 7") - it is merely impossible to win this best-of-seven series, will a proud Cleveland team "show up" here or will this be a 48-minute coronation that's capped off with Golden State holding aloft the championship trophy in the Cavs' backyard, just as Cleveland did a year ago in Oakland?
We'll have our Game 4 preview in just a moment, but first this reminder:
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will keep banging out Sides & Totals winners in this year's NBA Finals and so just go online right here today or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. Plus, get all the Major-League Baseball winners every day when you check with us ... and remember America's #1 Handicapper is gonna stay hot all month and all summer long and that includes Belmont Stakes winners on Saturday too!
THE NBA FINALS - GAME 4 PREVIEW
GOLDEN STATE at CLEVELAND - Warriors lead series 3-0, Game 4 is tonight at 9 p.m. ET, ABC
Okay, so enough already regarding the emotions of these two teams heading into this Game 4 clash, what about some old-fashioned X's and O's?
Golden State - make no mistake about it - wants to play yet another lightning-quick first-quarter pace so that the overmatched Cavs get tired come the fourth quarter and so it's in Cleveland's best interests here to milk a few seconds here and there on the shot clock and maybe play "big" with more size on the floor so that perhaps Tyronn Lue's club can win the all-important board battle.
Let the whole world kick around the albeit impressive stats of Warriors' megastars Kevin Durant (31 points in Game 3) - fresh off his dramatic late-game finish the other night - and sidekicks Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson (they combined for 56 points on 37 FG tries this past Wednesday night) and compare 'em to Cleveland's tag-team tandem of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving (a whopping 77 points in that gut-busting Game 3 loss) and keep in mind the real difference-maker here could well be Cavs' big man Tristan Thompson who snagged only three rebounds in 23 minutes in Game 3 and must be a double-digit board guy here or else.
Throw in one other strategy:
Cleveland is not gonna win - or cover - if the Warriors connect on nearly 50 percent of their triple tries (see 16-of-33 trifectas in Game 3) and so someone's gotta get James, Irving and friends to become a tad more aggressive with perimeter defense. Hey, we still think James is kicking himself for not getting right in the face of Durant for his pull-up made triple with 45.3 seconds in the game that gave G-State a 114-113 lead.
Finally, we cannot dismiss this coaching matchup: No doubt Golden State's Steve Kerr - and previous acting head coach Mike Brown - may not get enough credit just because media folks believe "anyone" can coach this talent-stocked lineup but gotta say that Lue's handful of key mistakes in the final three-plus minutes of Game 3 really hurt:
Not getting a "2-for-1" when the shot clock told 'em to get a pair of possessions; not being organized for a batch of other late-game possessions; not having sharpshooter Kyle Korver on the floor on that final offensive possession - did Lue lose confidence after Korver missed that key corner triple that could have given the Cavaliers a five-point lead?
Here's the Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals series in game chart form (all home teams are in CAPS below):
|6-1||GOLDEN ST.||- 7.5||Cleveland||113-91|
|6-4||GOLDEN ST||- 9||Cleveland||132-113|
|6-7||Golden St||- 3.5||CLEVELAND||118-113|
THE BASEBALL REPORT
Go ahead and raise your hand if you thought - before this 2017 season even started -- this second weekend in June would feature a first-place Minnesota Twins team taking on a San Francisco Giants squad a dozen games below the .500 mark or maybe the fact that a Milwaukee Brewers versus Arizona Diamondbacks three-game set in the desert would pit two teams with real-live post-season hopes.
Nah, that could never happen right?
Well, in a season of mucho surprises there's lots of "new blood" making early-to-mid-season runs at playoff berths this year and some oldies-but-not-necessarily-goodies floundering badly as the aforementioned Giants (25-37) and the New York Mets (25-32) look ready to be kayoed from any/all post-season talk even before we get to Fathers' Day!
One series that will be fun to watch this weekend is in The Bronx where the American League East-leading New York Yankees (34-23) host the Baltimore Orioles (31-27) in a three-game set.
The Yanks - fresh off winning two-of-three versus Boston - have somehow survived the nearly month-long injury absence of closer LHP Aroldis Chapman as RF Aaron Judge (.321, 18 HR, 41 RBI, .668 slugging) remains the brightest star in the NYY universe - can the O's pitching staff that ranks 10th in the league in team ERA (4.35) keep this 6-foot-8 monster "in the park"?
The Birds counter with a lineup that's produced 83 home runs (that's fifth-best in the junior circuit) and let's see if 3B Manny Machado - sore wrist and all after getting spiked by Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen the other night - can wrangle out of a season-long slump.
Two-of-three would be a major coup for Buck Showalter's Birds - and remember they get a shot at slumping RHP Masahiro Tanaka (6.55 ERA) on Sunday.
Jim Hurley will be on top of this AL East series and plenty more all weekend long - so cash in here online!