Game 4 was another classic in these NBA Finals, and as we shift back to Oakland, the series is now tied. The Warriors made a major adjustment and it paid off big time in Game 4, but was it a one-time thing, or a trend we need to follow?
Warriors Go Small
Even after listing Andrew Bogut as the starter, the Australian big man played very limited minutes in Game 4, as Andre Iguodala finally got the start for the Warriors. This made 6’8 Draymond Green the center, and while it did hurt the Warriors rebounding some, it electrified their offense and even helped their defense in the second half. The small lineup allowed the Warriors to be more live on double teams of LeBron James, and it also really improved their ball movement and rhythm on offense.
Even when the Warriors brought in David Lee and Shaun Livingston, the offensive ball movement picked up, and the already tired Cavs could not handle defending it. Cleveland only scored 12 points in a horrible 4th quarter, and while I won’t call it a collapse, it is concerning for the Cavs as they head back on the road. I think LeBron will bounce back well from his two days of rest, but I am more worried about the rest of the Cavs bouncing back after a tough four games.
Must Check: NBA Finals Prop Betting Guide
LeBron is Human, and the Cavs are Tired
I was speculating as to how much of a cyborg LeBron was after the first three games of this series, but even the King can be brought down for a game by the adjustments of a playoff series. After watching him average 40 points per game for the first three games of the series, the Warriors moved to their quick and small lineup, and double-teamed LeBron with every chance they got. James did miss some open shots in the first quarter, but he still went 4/7. However he collapsed in the final three quarters, and it looked like fatigue won. James was 3/15 after the first quarter, and the rest of the Cavs weren’t much better. Matthew Dellavedova did not make a shot after hitting two early threes at the beginning of the second half, and J.R. Smith went on a drought that spanned from the end of the first quarter, all the way to the fourth in Game 4. LeBron should bounce back and have another legendary performance in Game 5 on the road, but he is going to need another performance from those two guys as well as Timofey Mozgov if the Cavs are going to steal another game in Golden State.
Spread Firmly in Warriors Corner
All of this in mind, the NBA odds have the spread at -8 ½ in favor of the Warriors at home in Game 5, and if they play as good on defense and offense as they did in the 4th quarter again, I am a believer. However, I do think the Warriors are slightly overvalued here, and it could be an opportunity to take the points until the line drops. Already we see some sportsbooks taking the line down to -8 on the NBA odds board, and I would not be surprised to see it lower than that by tip off Sunday evening. Take a look at my line movement article as I take a more in depth look at it on Saturday.