NBA Finals Predictions — Can Warriors Count on Another 3rd-Quarter Tidal Wave?
The Golden State Warriors will been missing Andre Iguodala for the fifth game in a row when they suit up for Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night. So in a certain respect, they will be handicapped, and perhaps the same can be said for the Cavaliers, who have listed Kevin Love as questionable with his concussion issues. We know that on an overall basis, Golden State is the more talented squad, but what could be the major difference-maker in terms of them covering what is a massive number? That’s interesting thing to explore, as we prepare for the 9:05 PM ET start at the Oracle Arena in Oakland. Remember that if you are a BetAnySports customer, you can place wagers on this game even after it tips off, as you access the state-of-the-art software from Live Betting Ultra.
We can sense that Cleveland would like to get off to a quick start, and it appears as if the way the Warriors have played this season, they leave room for that. In fact, as unbelievable as it sounds, the defending champions have been outscored in the opening stanza this season, albeit by only three points. But they seem to have inclination to feel out the opponent, so to speak. Remember that LeBron James has had a tendency to get off to some very quick starts, including 21 points in the first quarter of Game 2 against Boston.
But even if the Cavs assume what looks like a commanding lead on Thursday night, Golden State is very confident they can make up the difference. And they have every reason to feel that way. In their final two games against the Houston Rockets, facing elimination, this team was down by 17 and 15 points, respectively, yet they were able to come back after making some halftime adjustments. In the third period, they outscored Houston 66-3 1in Games 6 and 7. It’s nothing unusual; it’s just what they do. And unless Cleveland has built up a little cushion for itself, they can find themselves in a lot of trouble the second half.
In the Game 1 odds on the NBA Finals, as they are posted by our friends at BetAnySports, the Warriors are favored by quite a few points:
Golden State Warriors -13
Cleveland Cavaliers +13
Over 214.5 points -110
Under 214.5 points -110
There is something about the way the Warriors evaluate their first-half performance and come out for the next 24 minutes that is more than just notable; it’s staggering. We are talking about a team that has outscored the opposition by 501 points in the third quarter. That comes out to a little more than five points a game, and that is a three-point per game average higher than the next team on the list (which was Denver, at +2). That is nothing short of phenomenal.
Obviously this is no surprise to Cleveland, but still, how they will counter that remains a mystery. We’re not sure there’s any way they can really do it. At BetAnySports, the Warriors are four-point favorites in the third quarter alone.
Golden State went through a few changes against the Rockets, as they allowed Houston to slow things down in the half-court and force some disadvantageous situations through switching that turned Kevin Durant into “LeBron West.” What we mean by that is, he focused a little too much on these plays pretty isolated himself against an opponent and tried to make a play himself.
Golden State was the best team in the league as far as ball distribution is concerned, racking up more assists per game than anyone, and after suffering in that regard in going down three games to two to the Rockets, they may a bit of a comeback, with 51 assists in the last two games. It will be interesting to see if they go back into that isolation pattern, but we’re relatively certain that they can make the necessary adjustments at halftime to threaten a blowout. And it may be up to the Cleveland bench to bring some energy to the table and stave off what could be a furious tidal wave as these teams come out of the locker room.
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