NBA Finals: Warriors To Improve In Game Four Clash vs. Cavaliers

Friday, June 10, 2016 11:00 AM GMT

The Cavaliers hope to even the series when LeBron James and crew host the Warriors in Game 4 of the Finals Friday night. Get your free NBA playoff pick with analysis here. 

Golden State Warriors (87-15 SU, 55-43-4 ATS)
The 2016 NBA playoffs have seen its fair share of blowouts. Including the Cavaliers 120-90 dusting of the Warriors in Game 3 of the Finals, 15 postseason games have been settled by 25 points or more. To put this into perspective, only 13 contests did so in the last three postseasons combined.

Golden State and Cleveland accounted for seven of these lopsided victories, winning all but two the next time out. Something has to give when these two square off in Game 4 on Friday night, the reigning champs holding onto a 2-1 series lead in the rematch.

Wednesday nights defeat to the Cavs was Golden State's first in the last eight meetings against Lebron James and company. The usually efficient defense was all but absent, as Cleveland shot 52.7 percent from the floor. It was the most points (120) the defense has allowed in the 12 meetings since LeBron's return to the Rock and Roll city, having held the team under the century mark in all but two prior. Expect head coach Steve Kerr to make proper adjustments.

Offensively, the Warriors 90 points were the fewest scored in its last 35 postseason games. It was another cold night from downtown, as the team shot 27.3 percent from behind the arc, the “Splash Brothers” going 4 of 16 combined. The free-shooting unit is now 2-16 ATS (7-11 SU) this postseason when bested from the 3-point area.

Since 2002, No.1 seeds are 5-2 SU and 6-1 ATS in Game 4 during The Finals. In all but one, they tipped off as underdogs. The only exception was last year's Warriors, who steamrolled the injury-riddled Cavs 103-82 in Cleveland as 3.5-point chalk. Only once in this span (2007) have two top seeds clashed, with the Celtics topping the Lakers in L.A. 97-91 as 7.5-point dogs.


Cleveland Cavaliers (70-29 SU, 48-48-3 ATS)
The Cavs are a perfect 8-0 SU, and a bet-friendly 7-1 ATS at Quicken Loans Arena this postseason. Putting up 112.4 points per game, they own an astonishing 22-point average margin of victory. Since Tyronn Lue took over head-coaching duties in late January and quickened the team's pace, Cleveland averages 110.0 points at home, and has scored 100 or more in 27 of 30 contests.

The Cavs are dominating at both ends of the court at home in the playoffs, but it's their 3-point shooting turning heads. Draining 13.5 treys per game, it is shooting an astonishing 45.8 percent from deep. As mentioned earlier, being more efficient from the zone is the Warrior's kryptonite, and LeBron and company will need another sharp-shooting night to even the series.

Kevin Love is probable for tonight's contest after missing Wednesday's blowout with a concussion. The three-time All Star participated in some shooting drills Thursday, but still has to clear a test or two. Expect Richard Jefferson to get the start regardless, with Lue hoping to replicate the script from Game 3.

Final Analysis
The Under offered by the NBA Odds is 9-3-1 in the last two seasons when the Warriors take to the road as underdogs with a healthy Steph Curry. Scoring just 100.5 points per game, they have finished under their projected team total in 10 of the 13 by a 7.8-point average. They particularly struggle in the first half of games in this situation, putting up just 49 points per tilt.

We cashed the Under first half in Game 3 and will go back to the well tonight. In four playoff games at Quicken Loans Arena, Kerr's offense has sputtered early, scoring 45 points or less in all but one. Defensively, they should be better. Under 104 in the first half is the Free NBA pick.

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Free NBA Pick: Under 206½ -105
Best Line Offered: at Heritage
Record: 74-49-1 (-106); NBA Playoffs: 13-4 (-109)