Today we have an awesome matchup in the NBA (like you didn’t know). Both teams seem fine and healthy and NBA odds makers have come out making Cleveland a solid -3.5 favorite against Golden State.
I’m sorry… who is the underdog?!?!
Golden State enters tonight's game as a +4 underdog on NBA odds. This is a very rare situation in regards to the Warriors this year. Actually it fits in this scenario though because Cleveland has been playing great basketball lately, and it has come surprisingly on the defensive end. The Cavs have held all but three of their last ten opponents to under 100 points, and they were impressive in the second half of their last game in Detroit coming back from a nine point half time deficit. Besides this though, and I think Cleveland knows this, they are getting a much different monster in Golden State. Also, don’t think Golden State will not come in this game with a chip on their shoulder not being favored. The Warriors will embrace the underdog role here and come ready to play.
Cleveland’s defense has been dominant… well kind of
On closer examination of Cleveland’s recent success defensively we notice one consistent trend in their opponents. During this span, out of the top ten teams in field goal percentage they have faced only one (Clippers), the next was ranked 11th (Miami), and the other games were against the bottom third of the entire league from 20th to last. So they have not been facing much on that end. In the Warriors they will get the number 1 ranked, and we think they will have a lot of success against a somewhat improved but still mediocre Cavs defense. For the year Golden State is shooting a solid 48% from the field, and again despite Cleveland’s recent upswing defensively they are still ranked 20th in defensive field goal percentage at 45.4%.
Defense STILL wins championships
Steve Kerr knows this all too well. He preaches his team to get after it on the defensive end, and that intensity on defense is most of the battle, the Warriors have bought in to this. Of course in the modern NBA there is more than just play hard on defense, you have to communicate, help, help the help, and rotate properly. All indications and stats say the Warriors do this better than anyone and this could really be the difference today. Golden State ranks 1st in defensive field goal percentage and 4th in defensive 3pt. percentage. Like the Cavs they have played tough defense recently and have held all but four of their last ten opponents to under 100 points. The BIG difference is who they have played in that span. While Cleveland feasted defensively on the lower tier of the offensively challenged the Warriors have gone against four of the top ten in the league in offensive field goal percentage (Was, Atl, Dal, and Phx) and San Antonio who is ranked 12th. Their only loss in these games was at the East leading Hawks.
If you don’t score you can’t win
Both teams are very efficient offensively but the Warriors are still number one in the league in assists, points, field goal percentage, and 3pt. field goal percentage. It will be interesting to see how the Cavs hold up when facing the best offense in the league compared to what they have seen this past month.
This is going to be a great game to watch. Both teams are playing well, and I can see why the odds makers have made the Cavs the favorite (Lebron healthy, at home, playing well). But I think we have some great value on the statistically best team in the league and we will add Golden State to our NBA picks.
Free NBA Pick: Golden State + money line