The Golden State Warriors won the first two games of the NBA Finals by an average of 24 points, leaving the host Cleveland Cavaliers facing a dire situation entering Wednesday’s Game 3. Not only has Cleveland been annihilated in the first two contests but power forward Kevin Love is listed as questionable due to a concussion suffered during Sunday’s 110-77 loss.
Love’s availability will be decided on Wednesday but what is more certain is that the Cavaliers – including forward LeBron James – need to step up their play after their embarrassing showing on Sunday. “We’re still here and we have a chance to turn this series around if we come in and do what we need to do both offensively and defensively,” James told reporters. “Internally, we have to figure out how we can be better. We have to figure out how we can help one another. We definitely have to figure out how we can get more guys involved.” One more victory will allow the Warriors to supplant the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls (87 wins) for the most overall wins in a season but point guard Stephen Curry made it clear his team isn’t about to relax with a 2-0 series lead. “There’s no point in celebrating or jumping up and down and saying, ‘Look at us,'” Curry told reporters. “We’re two games away from winning a championship. We still have to go out and get the job done. It’s a trap to think that we’ve figured things out and that we have the perfect formula to beat Cleveland and they have no chance in the series.”
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ABC
LINE HISTORY: The Cavaliers opened as one-point favorites at home for Game 3 despite their awful performance in Games 1 and 2 in Golden State. The public jumped all over the Warriors and by Monday afternoon the line had jumped the fence and the Dubs were favored at most books. The public action took another turn and the line began to creep back toward the Cavs on Tuesday afternoon – by Tuesday evening the line had settled in as a Pick. There’s no telling which way the line will turn on gameday. Keep your eyes on the line history here.
SERIES PRICE (Per Pinnacle):
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (87-14, 58-41-2 ATS, 52-48-1 O/U): Do-it-all forward Draymond Green added knockdown 3-point shooter to his resume in Game 2 as he made five 3-pointers while contributing 28 points, seven rebounds and five assists and playing his typical sturdy defense. “The way they’re guarding us, Draymond’s open a lot,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr told reporters. “So he becomes our safety valve when there’s pressure. He becomes an open shooter when they’re jumping out at Steph or Klay (Thompson), so it’s a good situation for him.” Curry and Thompson each made four 3-pointers in Game 2 but neither player has produced a high-scoring game with Curry averaging 14.5 points and Thompson just 13.
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (69-29, 46-49-3 ATS, 48-50 O/U): Love didn’t practice on Tuesday and must clear the concussion protocol before he can play but James’ comments made it sound like Cleveland already knows Love is unlikely to be on the floor. “It’s going to be the next man up. We’re down 0-2, and we can’t afford to look and say, ‘Wow, Kev’s not playing. What are we going to do?'” James told reporters after practice. “It’s next man up, because it’s a must-win for us. So obviously his health is very important, but in the situation we’re in now, we’ve got to stay confident. And whoever Coach decides to give the nod to has got to be ready to go, and everybody else has to step up.” If Love sits out, veteran shooter Channing Frye will likely play a larger role and little-used Timofey Mozgov will be a bigger part of the rotation.
* Warriors are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
* Cavaliers are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 home games.
* Under is 6-0 in Warriors last 6 vs. Eastern Conference.
* Over is 5-0 in Cavaliers last 5 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600.
* Warriors are 6-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings.
COVERS CONSENSUS: At the time of publication of this preview the Warriors were picking up 51 percent of the wagers on Covers and Over was grabbing 54 percent of the action. Click here for full up-to-date consensus data.
MVP ODDS (Per Sports Interaction):
DANCE TEAM BATTLE:
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