Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, June 7, 2018 at 12:00 AM
THE NBA FINALS GAME 3 RE-CAP: WARRIORS GO UP 3-ZIP AFTER 110-102 WIN IN CLEVELAND
THE BASEBALL NOTEBOOK: OVERACHIEVERS & UNDERACHIEVERS
Think about it: In the past three years of NBA Finals play, the Golden State Warriors have owned 3-1, 3-0 and (again) 3-0 series leads against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Okay, so everyone remembers the "Dubs" blew it back in 2016 as the Cavs stormed back to win Games 5, 6 and 7 in that set and then last year G-State stubbed its toe in Game 4 while searching out a sweep and thus needed a Game 5 to wrap up the series in Oakland.
Now, we'll see if this here-and-now Golden State club can "finish the job" in four straight come Friday night after knocking off the 3.5-point home underdog Cavaliers 110-102 on Wednesday night in Ohio ... we sure know what team played for keeps at the end of Game 3 and what player threw his hat into the proverbial ring to cop another NBA Finals Most Valuable Player award.
Sure 'nuff, Kevin Durant - who scored 43 points on only 23 field-goal attempts and hit the dagger triple with 49.8 seconds left in the game - now has the inside track on a second straight Finals MVP but there's lot more to examine when it came to this Golden State road conquest.
GOLDEN STATE 110, CLEVELAND 102 - Warriors lead series 3-0; Game 4 is Friday at 9 p.m. ET, ABC
Okay, so here's what we have been dying to say ever since the buzzer sounded on Golden State's win/cover in Game 3 ... truth is, there isn't nearly as much as one might think that separates the soon-to-be repeat champion Warriors and this down-and-nearly-out Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavs spurted out to some double-digit leads in the first half of Game 3, managed to hold a 58-52 halftime advantage (more on that in a bit) and actually flip-flopped the leads with Golden State inside the final few minutes of play but Durant's deadly jumpers and the constant Cleveland breakdowns on defense - more uncontested/easy hoops then you could count! - allowed Steve Kerr's team to put an absolute stranglehold on this series but consider that Game 1 and Game 3 could have "gone either way" and Cavs' fans can be forgiven for thinking this championship round might have a different feel to it with a break or two along the way.
Let's join the choir in saying Durant's late first-half points was a Cavs' killer as they cut an 11-point lead in half but here's what we take issue with concerning Golden State's latest win/the Cavaliers' latest loss:
Why did Cleveland's LeBron James (33 points / 10 rebounds / 11 assists) not become more forceful on the offensive end throughout the game and especially late in the final frame ... and why didn't Cleveland head coach Ty Lue "double" Durant? Wow, on a night when the so-called "Splash Brothers" of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were combining to shoot 7-of-27 from the floor (including 3-of-15 from downtown) for the Warriors, Lue surely had the opportunities to get another hand in Durant's face or another body to get in his path. Bad job, Mr. Lue.
Here's the 2018 NBA Finals head-to-head matchups so far between the Warriors and the Cavaliers (all home teams in CAPS):
|5-31||GOLDEN ST||- 13||Cleveland||124-114 (ot)|
|6-3||GOLDEN ST||- 11.5||Cleveland||122-103|
|6-6||Golden St||- 3.5||CLEVELAND||110-102|
NBA PLAYOFF POINTSPREAD CHART
(thru games of June 6) Here's the pointspread breakdown this post-season for the Cavaliers and the Warriors:
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers keep banging out lots of winners in this year's NBA Finals - and we'll keep on smashin' the books in Game 4 on Friday night with Sides & Totals action. Hey, we're winning with Major League Baseball too, so make sure you cash in big every day right here online or 1-800-323-4453.
THE BASEBALL NOTEBOOK
Maybe it's all about one's perspective: Here we are one-third through this here-and-now 2018 Major-League Baseball season and there's been plenty of talk regarding "overachievers" and "underachievers" and so we thought it's high time to weigh in and declare our biggest "overachievers" and biggest "underachievers" right now:
ATLANTA (36-26) - The young kids have bubbled to the surface and made the Braves an instant contender but how about some shout outs to LHP Sean Newcomb (7-1, 2.49 ERA)!
BOSTON (43-19) - The Red Sox rank either first or second in all the relevant team categories (batting average, runs, home runs and ERA) and they've hardly missed a beat lately even without OF Mookie Betts and 2B Dustin Pedroia.
DETROIT (29-34) - Keep in mind the "over" wins total for this year's Tigers was 68.5 and so hats off to manager Ron Gardenhire who has steered a ship ranked dead last in the AL in home runs.
OAKLAND (31-31) - The usual no-name A's sport the best starter nobody hears about in RHP Daniel Mengden (0.97 WHIP and six wins).
SEATTLE (38-23) - The Mariners are great in one-run games (18-9) and in extra innings (6-0) and they've actually thrived since the 80-game suspension handed down recently to perennial All-Star 2B Robinson Cano ... so there!
BALTIMORE (19-41) - True, the Orioles are fresh off their only series sweep this year (two-game sweep of the lowly New York Mets at Citi Field) but this club is a -92 in runs differential and somehow this star-studded lineup ranks dead last in runs scored in the American League.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX (20-39) - Granted, everyone in/around the Windy City said this was gonna be a "rebuilding year" but the Pale Hose may have the worst everyday lineup in the bigs.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS (30-31) - Yes, we know that the defending National League champions have stepped up their game the past couple of weeks but did you know the Dodgers would have to go 67-34 just to get to the spring-time projection of 97 wins?
MINNESOTA (26-32) - The Twins keep following a trend in recent years that says when Minny's supposed to be good, they're not and vice versa.
NOTE: Catch our NBA Finals Game 4 preview plus much more in the next edition of Jim Sez.