NBA Picks: Warriors Will Take 3-0 Lead Over Cavaliers In NBA Finals

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, June 8, 2016 12:26 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jun. 8, 2016 12:26 PM UTC

The 2016 NBA Finals looked really intriguing before the series started. Now? The Golden State Warriors have dominated and can take a 3-0 in Cleveland. Free NBA pick here.

Green, Bench Leading Warriors
I truly thought this series would be well-played and competitive in every game. Expected it would go at least six games but that the Warriors would repeat as NBA champions. After watching the first two games, I have little confidence that the Cavaliers will even win once. On the series line, the Warriors are now -750 on NBA odds with the Cavaliers are +575. Only three teams in Finals history have rallied to win the series after trailing 2-0. The last was Miami in 2006 against Dallas.

Last Thursday's Game 1 in Oakland was competitive until the Warriors pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 15-point win. Sunday's Game 2 was competitive for a half. The Warriors blew it open with a 30-18 advantage in the third quarter on the way to a 110-77 win. That combined margin of victory of 48 points is the highest after two games in NBA Finals history.

What's amazing about all this is that the Warriors are cruising despite the All-Star "Splash Brothers," two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, maybe the best offensive backcourt in league history, being fairly quiet. Curry hasn't topped 20 points in either game and is averaging 14.5 points on 11-for-26  shooting. He scored at least 31 points in each of the final three games of the Western Conference Finals against Oklahoma City. Thompson is averaging only 13.0 points on 10-for-25 shooting in this series -- he's a huge reason the Warriors are even here after a 41-point performance for the ages in Golden State's epic Game 6 win over the Thunder.

The Warriors are winning largely because of Draymond Green and their bench. Green is currently the -139 favorite on Sports Interaction NBA picks to win Finals MVP honors. Green had 16 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and four steals in Game 1 and then 28 points, seven rebounds and five assists in Game 2. The Cavs are so worried about Curry and Thompson that they are leaving Green with uncontested shots and he's usually not missing. He’s 10-of-17 for the series when left open. Green is also playing good defense on LeBron James.

Andre Iguodala, last season's unlikely Finals MVP, has totaled only 19 points in the two games but he is playing absolute shut-down defense on LeBron. When Iguodala was the primary defender on James in Game 2, LeBron was 1-for-3 from the field with seven turnovers. The Warriors bench, led by Iguodala, Shaun Livingston and Leandro Barbosa, has outscored the Cavs' reserves a whopping 85-41.

Cavaliers Not Sure If Love Will Play
The Cavaliers have now lost seven straight games to the Warriors -- the final three of last year's Finals, two in the 2015-16 regular season and two in these Finals. A LeBron-led team, both in Cleveland and Miami, had never lost seven straight games to one opponent. That's amazing.

So where do the problems lie for Cleveland? James has been very good if not great in nearly having a triple-double in both games thus far. But he's not shooting that well (16-for-37) and has 11 turnovers. The Warriors are basically daring anyone else to beat them and no one has. Star point guard Kyrie Irving had just 10 points in Game 2 and is shooting 33.3 percent from the field in the series. Shooting guard J.R. Smith, the team's top 3-point shooting threat, has done nothing with eight total points. 

Then there's the third member of Cleveland's supposed Big 3, power forward Kevin Love. The reason I thought the Cavs had an outside shot of winning this series was because he (and Irving) was playing so well in this postseason after missing all but the first round last year due to injury. Love was OK in Game 1 with 17 points and 13 rebounds, but he's getting torched on defense. And in Game 2, he was limited to only 21 minutes after taking an inadvertent elbow to the back of his head by Golden State's Harrison Barnes. Love originally played through it for a bit but then looked a little dazed and came out. He is in the NBA's concussion protocol and wasn't practicing as of Tuesday.

Coach Tyronn Lue says a decision on Love won't come until Wednesday. That would be a big loss. The Cavs were only outscored by eight points with Love on the floor in Game 2 but by 25 without him. With Smith struggling so much, the Cavs need Love's 3-point shooting. Channing Frye could start if Love is out. Frye, a good 3-point shooter, has been completely worthless in this series with two points.


Final Analysis
Golden State's next win will be its 88th this season, playoffs and regular season combined. That would break the record of 87 set by the 1995-96 Bulls. I see no reason not to pick the Warriors here. For one, it's not looking great for Love to play. And the Warriors won by 34 in Cleveland earlier this season. They are 6-1 ATS in the past seven meetings. Go 'under' the total. The 'under' is 9-3 in the Warriors'  past 12 road games. It is 5-2 in the Cavs' past seven overall.

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NBA Picks: Warriors PK & Under 206
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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