The Cleveland Cavaliers came within one shot of upsetting the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of their NBA Finals series. After painfully falling short, Cleveland will have an uphill battle bouncing back in Game 2. The Cavaliers had a chance to take the lead in the dying second of regulation in Game 1 but George Hill missed a key free throw and J.R. Smith made a brutal error that will not soon be forgotten afterwards by dribbling the ball out and failing to get a shot off. Golden State ended up rallying in overtime for the 124-114 win. Cleveland’s mind state heading into Game 2 is the top storyline everyone is wondering about.
NBA Finals Point Spread and Betting Odds
Despite losing the game, the Cavaliers covered on the road in Game 1 and are now 4-0 against the spread in their last four games against Western Conference opponents. Cleveland is also 5-1 ATS in its last six against teams with winning records above .600. However, the Cavaliers haven’t been good on two days rest over the past couple of months. Cleveland is 2-9 ATS in its last 11 games played on two days rest.
Meanwhile, Golden State is 4-1 in its last five games following an ATS loss. However, the Warriors are just 6-18 ATS in their last 24 games following a straight up win and 2-5 ATS in their last seven home games versus teams with a losing road record.
The Cavaliers threw everything they had at the Warriors in Game 1 but still came up short following a brutal finish. The good news is that the Cavaliers proved they belong. Many people expected they’d get blown out but Cleveland looked great, taking the Warriors third quarter blow and withstood it, and were well in the game in the fourth quarter. They were a missed free throw and a number of other bad breaks from a win on the road as a 12-point dog. There are a lot of positives they can take away from the opener.
On one hand, the fact that LeBron James had 51 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and a block in Game 1 but still lost is testament to the uphill climb this team faces moving forward. On the other hand, the Cavs supporting Cavs should do more in Sunday’s NBA matchup as they did almost nothing in Game 1.
Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors had an odd performance in Game 1. The Big Three had big games, the team shot 51.1% from the field and only had seven turnovers. At the same time, they barely escaped Game 1 with a win.
The main issue for the Warriors was three-fold: they were again a bit nonchalant, their defense wasn’t very good and they were whipped on the boards (53-38). Those are all things they should be able to fix in Game 2 but the question is whether they will. They seem to play best when they’re in desperation mode and they probably won’t be in Game 2. They have the Cavs on the ropes in this spot as Cleveland will likely have some mental and chemistry hurdles to overcome. If the Warriors come out and hit them hard to start, Cleveland may fold. What’s more likely to happen is that Cleveland brings their ‘A’ game again and Golden State will be a bit lackadaisical. The fact that the Warriors were taunting at the end of Game 1 instead of being humble to escape with a win is a telling sign.