GS Warriors -1 to Break Series Tie in Game 3 vs. Cavaliers: NBA Finals Picks

Jason Lake

Tuesday, June 9, 2015 2:15 PM GMT

Tuesday, Jun. 9, 2015 2:15 PM GMT

It took an unusually poor game from Stephen Curry to get the Cleveland Cavaliers to the pay window in Game 2. Should we switch our basketball picks for Game 3 anyway?

Jason’s record as of June 8: 81-84-5 ATS, 21-23 Totals, plus-0.15 units ML, 6-4 Series (plus-2.0 units)

 

Maybe Stephen Curry is concussed after all. Everyone saw what happened Sunday night: Curry shot 5-of-23 in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, including 2-of-15 from long range. Meanwhile, LeBron James had a triple-double with 39 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists, leading his Cleveland Cavaliers (+7.5 away) to a 95-93 victory over Curry's Golden State Warriors. Who's the MVP again?

Curry's meltdown notwithstanding, Game 2 played out largely the same as the opener, just with a different result. So we're not likely to change our NBA picks for Tuesday's Game 3 (9:00 p.m. ET, ABC), even though we ended up with a mouthful of chalk on Sunday. The Warriors opened as 1-point road dogs before moving to –1 at press time; about 60 percent of early bettors are on Golden State, so we're encouraged that the sharps are with us.

 

And I'm Spent
If anything, Sunday's proceedings make it that much more likely the Warriors will beat the basketball odds. For the second time in two games, the Cavaliers were extended to overtime after tiring down the stretch, this time allowing Golden State to come back from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Cleveland again used only eight players in Game 2, and one of them was Mike Miller, who barely saw the floor. James played 50 minutes Sunday night and looked completely drained afterwards.

James and his fellow Cavaliers had two games to rest up after Game 1. This time, they only have Monday off, and they had to fly back home for Game 3. The further you get into the NBA season, the harder those flights are on your mind and body. We can expect the short-handed Cavs to continue struggling late in games as they expend all that energy on defense; if anything, it should only get worse on Tuesday.

 

Curry Surprise
As for Curry, we don't expect him to shoot 2-of-15 from downtown again. Credit to the Cavaliers, particularly Matthew Dellavedova, for making Curry's life difficult, but this wasn't just a case of lockdown defense. Curry had nine uncontested shots Sunday night, and he only made one of them. Apparently there was a lid on the basket. Our man Marreese Speights even had a wide-open dunk that went halfway in before popping back out.

Also, we wouldn't be doing our job properly if we didn't once again bemoan LeBron's lack of efficiency. We cut him some slack after Game 1 when he shot 18-of-38 to get his 44 points; in Game 2, James was 11-for-35 from the field. The Cavaliers did a better job of rebounding this time – Tristan Thompson had seven of his 14 boards on the offensive glass – but it was Curry's whifftastic performance that allowed the Cavs to even this series.

 

Nickels and Dimes
Having said all that, there is one thing to consider for next Sunday, when the Cavaliers and Warriors return to Oakland for Game 5: If the Cavaliers are going to keep playing this style and limiting the number of Golden State possessions, we might have to switch our NBA pick to Cleveland, just because of how more difficult it will be for the Warriors to beat the spread in a lower-scoring game. It's the underdog-UNDER dynamic at work.

We'll worry about that later, though. There's hardly any spread to speak of for Game 3. In fact, you might prefer to bet the Warriors at –112 on the moneyline if you're going to be taking them –1 ATS at the standard –110 vigorish. But why pay more? There's always a deal on vig if you shop around. In this case, we're getting five cents back. See a nickel, pick it up.

Free NBA Pick: Take the Warriors –1 (–105) at 5Dimes

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