NBA Finals Game Two: Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors

2015 NBA Playoffs
NBA Finals
Game #2
#2 Cleveland Cavaliers at #1 Golden State Warriors
Warriors Lead Best of Seven Series 1-0
Oracle Arena – Oakland, California
Sunday, June 7, 2015, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: ABC
Opening Line: Golden State -7
Current Line: Golden State -8
Opening Total: 202
Current Total: 200 1/2
Opening Money Line: Warriors -310 / Cavaliers +255
Current Money Line: Warriors -360 / Cavaliers +280

The Warriors look to take a 2-0 series lead against the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.
The Warriors look to take a 2-0 series lead against the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.

The Cleveland Cavaliers had a golden opportunity to steal game one of the NBA Finals and home court advantage in the series. However, they fell apart in overtime and now find themselves down 1-0 with game two Sunday night in Oakland. The loss in game one wasn’t even the worst part as Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving suffered a fractured knee cap in the overtime period and will be out 3-4 months after surgery.

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 47-3 at home including the regular season and playoffs, but they did lose at home during the Grizzlies series.

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 #4 seed Atlanta Hawks.

Golden State is coached by Steve Kerr. The Warriors are 55-42-1 ATS and the total is 44-54-1 this season. Golden State was a 6 point favorite in game one and the total was 203.5.Cleveland is coached by David Blatt. The Cavaliers are 47-50 ATS and the total is 40-56-1 this season.

In game one of the NBA finals Thursday night, there was a question if Irving would even play after missing two games with a sore knee in the series against the Hawks. He has been battling knee tendonitis throughout the playoffs. Irving not only played but played well in 43 minutes of game time. Cleveland jumped out to an early 14 point lead and would lead by 10 at the end of the first. Golden State would rally and take a five point lead with 1:39 left in the first half. However, Cleveland would lead 51-48 at halftime.

The Cavaliers led throughout the third, by as many as 7 points. Golden State tied it up for the first time in the quarter on a layup at the buzzer from Andre Iguodala. The fourth quarter was back and forth with neither team leading by more than 4 points.

Stephen Curry gave Golden State a 98-96 lead with 53 seconds left on a 20 foot shot. Timofey Mozgov made two free throws for the Cavaliers with 31 seconds left. Curry drove to the hoop and had a seemingly wide open layup before Irving made a spectacular block to keep it tied. Cleveland held for the last shot and LeBron James missed a contested long jumper from just inside the arc. Iman Shumpert grabbed the rebound and launched a three at the buzzer that bounced off the rim to send it into overtime. Despite scoring a playoff career high 44 points, many criticized LeBron for shooting a jumper instead of driving to the hoop.

In overtime nothing went right for the Cavaliers. They  appeared to be tired and didn’t score in overtime until James hit a meaningless layup with 9 seconds left. At that point Golden State had already scored 10 points and sealed the win. Irving left the game with 2 minutes left and limped back to the locker room without any help, but you could tell the injury looked serious. The Warriors would hold on for the 108-100 win to take a 1-0 series lead in their first NBA Finals since 1975.

Curry had 26 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals. Klay Thompson had 21 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks. He suffered a concussion in the last game against the Rockets and wasn’t cleared to play in game one until Tuesday. Iguodala added 15 points off the bench and added 3 rebounds and 2 assists. In fact the Warriors’ bench outscored the Cavaliers’ bench 34-9. Draymond Green had 12 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Harrison Barnes added 11 points and 6 rebounds.

James had 44 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists, but it wasn’t enough. Irving scored 23 points, and added 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks before the injury. Mozgov had 16 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists. J.R. Smith scored 9 points off the bench, and was the only reserve to score for Cleveland. He went 3/13 from the field including 3/10 from 3 point range. Tristan Thompson had 15 rebounds, but only scored 2 points.

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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.

Cleveland is 13-3 ATS against Western Conference teams, 4-1 after allowing 100 points or more, 7-2 on two days rest, 6-2 after failing to cover, and against Pacific teams, 2-5 in Sunday games, and 1-4 in NBA Finals games.

Golden State is 5-0 ATS against Eastern Conference teams, 20-5-1 on two days rest, 21-8-2 against teams with winning road records, 2-5 after allowing 100 points or more, and against Central teams, and 1-6 in Sunday games. The home team is 4-1 ATS in this series recently and the favorite is 5-2 ATS. The warriors are 10-3 ATS against the Cavaliers including 6-1 in Oakland.

It will be very tough for Cleveland to win this series without Irving. Lebron can’t do it by himself, and needs help from Smith and Iman Shumpert. I think the Cavaliers find a way to earn the split as the series moves to Cleveland.

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