Golden St. at Cleveland
Time: 7 PM CT, TNT
Spread: GSW -6
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Cleveland Cavaliers are struggling. The Cavs have lost seven of its last 10 and fallen to 26-16, just one game ahead of the No. 4 seeded Miami Heat. Cleveland now hosts the team that defeated it in the 2017 NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors.
Golden State will be 6-point favorites in the affair, which will air at 7 PM (Central) on TNT. The over/under is set at 234 points according to NBA oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
Cleveland has lost its past three games, with its last victory being a 131-127 win over the lowly Orlando Magic. Its three losses consist of a 28-point embarrassment loss at Minnesota, a 34-point loss to Toronto, and a narrow 97-95 loss to Victor Oladipo and the Indiana Pacers. In that most recent fall, the Cavaliers rested Isaiah Thomas and Dwyane Wade. Oladipo finished with 19 points, and the Pacers got 22 points and four assists from Darren Collison.
Pacers’ big man Domantas Sabonis had a strong game in the paint with 12 points, 15 rebounds, three assists and a block. Sabonis has flourished since becoming a true center this season. Last year, the OKC Thunder tried to make the son of legendary Arvydas into a stretch-4, but he seems to thrive closer to the basket. The Cavaliers held a plus-3 advantage on the glass, but shot just 43 percent from the field and turned it over 11 times with just 19 assists.
The Cavaliers have a losing mark of 11-12 on the road now this season but will be at home against Cleveland where the team is a much more promising 15-4 this season. Cleveland has still won its past two at home, victories over the Chicago Bulls and Portland Trail Blazers. It could be that the team turns things around beginning today, in what could be a statement game for LBJ and company that perhaps things are not as poor as they seem on the surface.
Cleveland still has plenty of depth and the league’s most versatile superstar, but Golden State really has been rolling in a major way. The Warriors recently overtook Houston in the standings, and it is doubtful the team regresses between now and June. They are just getting going, really.
The Warriors are now close to full health. None of the Main Four are injured, and Zaza Pachulia started in the 127-125 win over Toronto. Draymond Green had 14 points and eight assists while finishing with a +24 mark, the best of any starter. Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry combined for 50 points on combined 17 of 28 shooting, and Kevin Durant chipped in 25 points on 10 of 18 shooting, with five assists and six boards. The Warriors were outscored 36-19 in the final quarter, but it managed to hold on to improve to 19-3 on the road this season.
Draymond Green has really come on over the past four games for Golden State. He is averaging 16.2 points, 7.3 assists and seven rebounds per game over the Warriors last four games, and the team won all but a 125-106 loss to the L.A. Clippers. Green has managed just four blocks over that span, but he has also come up with two steals, and those familiar with Green know his defensive impact goes far beyond the counting stats. He has enabled Golden State to continually switch high-low pick and roll with opposing big men, and the Warriors execute the switches aggressively rather than passively, as one of the best teams in the league at defending the P&R.
Indeed, an understated part of what makes the Warriors such a great team is its flexible defense, speed, and its ability to recover in transition. If a team is going to constantly push the pace, it is exceptional it also controls the nadirs in pace when turnovers occur, or mini-runs that only perpetuate the Warriors’ leads, which grow quickly on opposing teams and lead to these dominant seasons we have come to expect from the Dubs.