NBA Finals Game Three: Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers

2015 NBA Playoffs
NBA Finals Game #3
#1 Golden State Warriors at #2 Cleveland Cavaliers
Best of Seven Series Tied 1-1
Tuesday, June 9, 2015, 9:05 pm Eastern, TV: ABC
Quicken Loans Arena – Cleveland, Ohio
Opening Line: Cleveland pick

Current Line: Golden State -1 (-115)
Opening Total: 194 1/2
Current Total: 194
Opening Money Line: Cavaliers -110 / Warriors -110
Current Money Line: Warriors -120 / Cavaliers +100

LeBron and the Cavs earned a split in two games in Oakland. Now the NBA Finals shift to Cleveland for two games.
LeBron and the Cavs earned a split in two games in Oakland. Now the NBA Finals shift to Cleveland for two games.

After two overtime games in Oakland, the NBA Finals are tied at a game apiece for the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. Now the series shifts to Cleveland for the next two games starting with game three Tuesday night.

Golden State went 67-15 and had the best record in basketball. They won the Pacific Division by 11 games over the Los Angeles Clippers. The Warriors swept the #8 seed New Orleans Pelicans in the first round, and then beat the #5 seed Memphis Grizzlies in six games despite trailing 2-1 in the second round series. In the Western Conference Finals, Golden State beat the #2 seed Houston Rockets in five games. Golden State is in the NBA Finals for the first time since winning the championship in 1975.

Cleveland went 53-29 and won the Central Division by three games over the Chicago Bulls. The Cavaliers were the #2 seed in the East, and swept the #7 seed Boston Celtics in the first round. Cleveland trailed 2-1 in the second round series against the #3 seed Bulls, but the Cavaliers won the series in six games. In the Eastern Conference Finals, Cleveland swept the #1 seed Atlanta Hawks. The Cavaliers are looking for their first NBA title and are back in the Finals for the second time and first since 2007.

Golden State trailed by 14 early in game one but rallied to win 108-100 in overtime. In overtime of that game Clevleand point guard Kyrie Irving suffered a fractured knee cap that required surgery. He is out 3-4 months. This comes on the heels of the Cavaliers losing forward Kevin Love for the playoffs to a dislocated shoulder in the first round against the Celtics. Despite being without two all-stars starters, Cleveland survived game two and escaped with a 95-93 overtime win. It was only the fourth loss at home for the Warriors this season in the regular season and playoffs in 51 games.

Golden State is coached by Steve Kerr. The Warriors are 55-43-1 ATS and the total is 44-55-1 this season. Golden State was a 7.5 point favorite in game two and the total was 199.Cleveland is coached by David Blatt. The Cavaliers are 48-50 ATS and the total is 40-57-1 this season.

Without Love and Irving, the only chance Cleveland had was to turn the game into an ugly rock fight. They accomplished that goal easily. Both teams shot under 40%. Cleveland shot 32.2% from the field including 9/27 from 3 point range. Golden State shot 39.8% from the field including a dismal 8/35 from 3 point range. The two teams combined for 31 turnovers. Cleveland outrebounded Golden State 55-45.

Golden State took an early 20-12 lead, but Cleveland closed the first on an 8-0 run. In the second Cleveland led by as many as seven but took a 47-45 lead into halftime. LeBron James had a monster quarter scoring or assisting on 24 of the 27 points the Cavaliers scored in the quarter. Cleveland would take a three point lead into the fourth after an ugly 15-14 third quarter.

In the fourth Cleveland took an 83-72 lead on a LeBron James 3 pointer with 3:14 left. However, the Cavaliers would only make four free throws for the rest of the fourth, and Golden State climbed back into the game. The Warriors tied it up at 87 with 8 seconds left on a Stephen Curry lay-up. James missed a jumper with two seconds and Tristan Thompson missed a tip-in at the buzzer as the game went into overtime.

Neither team led by more than 5 in the overtime period. Golden State took a 93-92 lead on two Curry free throws with 29 seconds left. Golden State’s Draymond Green blocked a LeBron James 5 foot shot with 22 seconds left. Andre Iguodala grabbed the rebound but turned it over on a bad pass. James Jones missed a 24 footer but Matthew Dellavedova grabbed the offensive rebound, and was fouled by Harrison Barnes. Dellavedova made two free throws to give the Cavs a 94-93 lead. Curry missed a 19 footer at the other end. LeBron made one of two free throws to put the Cavaliers up 95-93 with 4 seconds left. Golden State never even got off a shot as Curry made a bad pass that Iman Shumpert stole to seal the win.

LeBron finished with a triple double of 39 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists. Timofey Mozgov added 17 points and 11 rebounds. J.R. Smith added 13 points off the bench along with 4 rebounds. Dellavedova scored 9 points with 5 rebounds and 3 steals. His impact was felt more on the other end of the court as he guard Curry for most of the game. Thompson had 14 rebounds.

Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 34 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. His fellow Splash Brother Curry had a terrible shooting night though going 5/23 from the field and 3/15 from 3 point range. He finished with 19 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Barnes had 11 points and 6 rebounds. Green had 10 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 steals and 4 blocks.

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Cleveland is outscoring teams 101-93 in the playoffs. The Cavaliers are shooting 43.6% from the field and 35.9% from 3 point range. Cleveland makes 75.5% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 41.2% from the field and 28.1% from 3 point range. Cleveland averages 46.9 rebounds per game and opponents averages 40.4 per game. The Cavaliers average 18.9 assists, 12.3 turnovers, 5.8 steals and 6.9 blocks per game. Opponents average 18.9 assists, 11.1 turnovers, 6.2 steals and 4.6 blocks per game.

The Cavaliers are banged up and certainly aren’t at full strength. LeBron James is averaging 27.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.3 blocks per game in the playoffs. Kyrie Irving averaged 18.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Kevin Love is out for the playoffs after suffering a dislocated shoulder in the first round against the Celtics. J.R. Smith averages 13.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Iman Shumpert averages 10.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.2 steals and 1 block per game. Timofey Mozgov, Tristan Thompson, Matthew Dellavedova and James Jones will also get minutes in the rotation. Anderson Varejao is out for the season with a torn Achilles.

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Golden State is outscoring teams 104-96 in the playoffs. Golden State is shooting 46% from the field and 38% from 3 point range. The Warriors are shooting 70.3% from the free throw line. Opponents are shooting 43.1% from the field and 31% from 3 point range. Golden State averages 46.2 rebounds per game and opponents average 42.2 per game. The Warriors average 25.1 assists, 15.3 turnovers, 8 steals and 6.1 blocks per game. Opponents average 21.5 assists, 14.2 turnovers, 8.9 steals and 4.5 blocks per game.

Guard Stephen Curry averages 29.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 6.4 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. He was named league MVP earlier in the playoffs. Klay Thompson averages 19.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.1 steals per game. He suffered a concussion in game five against the Rockets, but passed all the concussion protocols and is probable for game one. Draymond Green averages 14 points, 10.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.2 blocks per game.  Harrison Barnes averages 11.3 points, 5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. Marreese Speights returned in game one after missing 8 games with a calf injury. Other key players in the rotation include David Lee, Andre Igoudala, Leandro Barbosa, Andrew Bogut and Shaun Livingston.

Golden State is 5-1 ATS against Eastern Conference teams, 5-2 on one day rest, 11-5 against teams with winning home records, 24-11 after a straight up loss, 2-6 against Central teams. The Warriors are 10-4 ATS against the Cavalier recently.

Cleveland is 14-3 ATS against Western Conference teams, 7-2 against Pacific teams, 5-2 against teams with winning records, and overall, and 3-8 after a cover. The under is 4-1 in this series recently.

You don’t win 67 games without being able to play on the road. Golden State will not be intimidated even by the hungry Cleveland fans, desperate for the city’s first championship since 1964 in any sport. I think curry rebounds from his horrible shooting night and Golden State regains home court with a close win on the road.

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