2016 NBA Playoffs
NBA Finals – Game #7
#1 Cleveland Cavaliers at #1 Golden State Warriors
Best of Seven Series Tied 3-3
Sunday, June 19, 2016, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: ABC
Oracle Arena – Oakland, California
Opening Line: Golden State -5
Current Line: Golden State -5 (-105)
Opening Total: 207 1/2
Current Total: 207
Opening Money Line: Warriors -210 / Cavaliers +180
Current Money Line: Warriors -200 / Cavaliers +170
The Cleveland Cavaliers became the third team to force a game seven in the NBA Finals after being down 3-1 and first since 1966 with their 115-101 victory in game six over the Golden State Warriors. No team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA Finals in 32 previous times. However, the Warriors themselves were down 3-1 in the last round against the Oklahoma City Thunder and came back to win the series.
History is on the line for both teams in game seven. The Golden State Warriors look to win their second straigt NBA title and in the process complete the greatest season in NBA history. No Cleveland sports franchise has won a title in the four major sports since the Browns in 1964. LeBron James is playing in his sixth straight Finals, something no starting player has done since the Bill Russell era Celtics in the 1960’s. He has only won two of those though and third NBA title would improve his already stellar legacy.
Golden State won game one 104-89 and game two 110-77. Cleveland got back in the series with a 120-90 rout in game three. The Warriors took command of the series with a 108-97 win in game four. Cleveland won game five in Oakland 112-97 in a game in which Warriors’ star forward Draymond Green was suspended for his second flagrant two foul. Also in that game, Golden State center Andrew Bogut suffered a knee injury that knocked him out for the rest of the series. In game six, Cleveland forced a game seven with a 115-101 victory Thursday night. Remarkably, despite every game being decided by 11 points or more, both teams have scored exactly 610 points in the finals.
Cleveland was a 2 point favorite against Golden State and the total was 207.5. The Cavaliers jumped out to a 31-11 lead in the first quarter and would never look back. The 11 points was the fewest points Golden State had scored in a quarter for the entire season. Cleveland led by 16 at halftime. The Warriors trimmed the lead to 9 by the end of the third quarter. Golden State pulled as close as 7 in the fourth but would get no closer. With around four minutes left in the game, two time MVP Stephen Curry fouled out on a dubious foul against LeBron James. Curry was livid and threw his mouthpiece and hit one of the Cavaliers’ owners sons sitting courtside. Curry apologized to the man, but was ejected for the first time in his career. Cleveland would cruise to the 14 point victory. It also didn’t help matters that Andre Igoudala, the best defensive player for the Waerriors suffered back spasms during the game. He is listed as probable for game seven after getting treatment on the extra travel day.
Cleveland shot 51.9% from the field and Golden State shot 40.2% from the field. James scored 41 points for the second straight game along with 11 assists, 8 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 blocks. Kyrie Irving scored 23 points. Tristan Thompson had 15 points and 16 rebounds. J.R. Smith scored 14 points. Curry scored 30 points before the foul out/ejection. Klay Thompson had 25 points.
Cleveland is coached by Tyronn Lue, who replaced David Blatt midway though the season. The Cavaliers are the first team in NBA history to make the NBA Finals with two different rookie head coaches in two straight seasons. Cleveland went 57-25 and won the Central Division by 12 games over the Indiana Pacers. Cleveland was the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference and breezed into the Conference Finals by sweeping the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks. The Cavaliers then beat the Toronto Raptors in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Cavaliers are 49-50-3 ATS and the total is 49-52-1 this season.
Golden State is coached by Steve Kerr. Kerr won the NBA coach of the year award despite missing almost half the season recovering from back surgery. The Warriors set an NBA record for wins in the regular season with a 73-9 record. They won the Pacific Division by 20 games over the Los Angeles Clippers. The Warriors beat the Houston Rockets in five games in the first round. The Warriors then beat the Portland Trail Blazers in five games in the second round. Two time MVP Stephen Curry suffered knee and ankle injuries in the first round against the Rockets and missed six games in the playoffs. He returned for the last two games against the Blazers and has played ever since. The Warriors came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in seven games in the Western conference Finals. Golden State is the defending NBA Champion. Golden State is 59-44-2 ATS and the total is 54-49-2.
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Cleveland is outscoring teams 107-94 during the playoffs. The Cavaliers are shooting 47.5% from the field including 43.4% from three point range. The Cavaliers make 72.5% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 45.1% from the field and 34% from three point range. Cleveland averages 43 rebounds per game and opponents average 37.1 per game. The Cavaliers average 22.9 assists, 11.6 turnovers, 7 steals and 3.6 blocks per game. Opponents average 22.9 assists, 12.4 turnovers, 6.1 steals and 3.9 blocks per game.
LeBron James averages 24.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 7 assists and 2.21 steals per game in the playoffs. James is playing in his sixth straight NBA Finals something that hasn’t been done since the 1960’s era Celtics. Kyrie Irving averages 24.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Kevin Love averages 17.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. J.R. Smith averages 12 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Channing Frye averages 8.6 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. Richard Jefferson, Tristan Thompson, Matthew Dellevadova, and Iman Shumpert will also get minutes in the rotation.
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Golden State is outscoring teams 111-105 in the playoffs. The Warriors are shooting 46.4% from the field and 40.3% from three point range. Golden State makes 73.4% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 41.8% from the field and 34.2% from three point range. The Warriors average 44.6 rebounds per game and opponents average 46.6. Golden State averages 25 assists, 14 turnovers, 8.5 steals and 5.4 blocks per game. Opponents average 20.4 assists, 15.1 turnovers, 8.2 steals and 5.1 blocks per game.
Curry averages 26.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game. Klay Thompson averages 26.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game in the playoffs. Draymond Green averages 15.1 points, 9.8 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.6 steals and 2.1 blocks per game. Shaun Livingston, Harrison Barnes, Andre Igoudala, Marreese Speights, Leandro Barbosa, Andrew Bogut and Ian Clark will also get minutes in the rotation. Kevon Looney is out for the season with a hip injury. Bogut is out for the series with a knee injury.
Cleveland is 4-1 ATS after the opponent scores 100 points or more, and on two days rest, 9-4 after allowing 100 points or more and against Pacific teams, 2-5 in road games and against teams with winning home records, and 0-4 in Sunday games. The under is 4-0-2 in Oakland in this series recently.
Golden State is 5-1 ATS in Sunday games, at home and after the opponent scored 100 points or more, 4-1 after allowing 100 points or more, 9-3 after failing to cover, 35-14-2 against teams with winning road records, 23-10-2 after a double digit loss, 34-15-2 on two days rest, and 36-17 after a straight up loss. The Warriors are 9-4 at home against the Cavaliers.
Win or lose, LeBron James should be the Finals MVP. He leads both teams in every statistical category. By contrast, Curry has struggled for the most part in this series. Golden State has only lost 4 times at home this season including twice in the playoffs. It is hard to imagine a team that won 73 games in the regular season losing three straight games. However, if James plays like he did in games five and six, the Cavs will be hard to beat. I like Golden State to win a close game.