The Cavaliers finally lost their footing & their legs against Warriors in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, now the series moves back to California for Game 5 where GS is favored on the NBA betting lines.
The Cleveland Cavaliers Can Win Because...
They should be able to rest up enough that they can be physically fresh and able to play the kind of defense that got them a 2-1 lead in this series. You need to realize that the past two games of the series, Games 3 and 4, were played on the normal every-other-night schedule you usually see during an NBA regular season. There might be some back-to-back games, but every other night is pretty standard for professional athletes. Cleveland was putting forth so much effort, but that effort was simply not sustainable. Cleveland forced only seven turnovers from Golden State in Game 4 - that's way too little. The Cavaliers have to be more disruptive and play the kind of defense they did in Games 2 and 3, when they forced a combined total of 32 turnovers. When a team has defensive energy, it can overplay the passing lanes and create all sorts of problems with doubleteams, hedges and traps. That's what the Cavs were doing a lot in this series, but in Game 4, Golden State moved so much better that it was able to beat the Cavs' maneuvers often, and without much of a problem.
Now, though, Cleveland gets two full days in between gamedays, which is a huge advantage heading into Game 5. If we had to play Game 5 on Saturday and not Sunday, Cleveland would be in big trouble, but the schedule certainly enables the shorthanded and undermanned Cavs to physically replenish and use the players they have, even if it means for long minutes.
The player who should benefit the most? LeBron James. He just didn't have his shot in Game 4, but what's more is that he didn't take nearly as many shot attempts (22) as he had in the first three games of the series. LeBron should be able to get back to carrying the workload for his team and scoring near 40 points. If he does that and his teammates play the great defense seen in Games 2 and 3, that's how Cleveland can snag Game 5.
The Golden State Warriors Can Win Because...
They played with a lot more passion in Game 4 and probably learned a lot about themselves in the process. It was one thing when Golden State won in Memphis after being down 2-1. At that time, no one knew how good Golden State could be. Here in the NBA Finals, the Warriors knew that they were really good, at least in that they had proven something by winning the Western Conference title. When Cleveland punched them in the mouth in each of the first three games of the series, the Warriors had to react, and they had to do so under great pressure. Golden State was just bullied by Memphis and its defense a month ago. Against Cleveland, it was something more. LeBron James was playing at a great level, and the Cavaliers -- trying to win a first NBA title for the city of Cleveland -- played with extra motivation. Now that the Warriors have escaped Cleveland with homecourt advantage back in their hands, they should be very confident. They also know that Draymond Green, with 17 points, seven rebounds, and six assists in Game 4, is back to being the kind of player the Warriors expect. Harrison Barnes, with 14 points and eight boards, was also the kind of player Golden State hoped he would be in this series. If these performances are reproduced in Game 5, the Warriors should be fine.
The Warriors made a similar adjustment against the Memphis Grizzlies and ended up rolling and it seems like starting Iguodala could have the same affect. The Cavs would like to counter but they are short on options. Look for the Warriors to win in this spot but take the Cavs to cover the basketball spread. They opened at +9 at Pinnacle but have already dropped to +8.
Pick: Cleveland +8 at Pinnacle