Cavaliers lead series 3-0
The Cleveland Cavaliers are putting on a 3-point shooting show and are on the verge of sweeping the Atlanta Hawks for the second straight postseason. Cleveland made 21 3-pointers on Friday – four shy of its record-setting performance in Game 2 – and looks to finish off the host Hawks in Sunday’s Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Backup forward Channing Frye knocked down seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points in Friday’s 121-108 victory, which marked the Cavaliers’ 11th consecutive postseason win over the Hawks. Cleveland has made 61 3-pointers in the series — the most through three games of any playoff series in NBA history. “We have some great shooters,” Cleveland forward LeBron James told reporters. “The reason why we have great shooters is because that ball is popping – the ball has energy behind it, and guys feel confident when the ball gets to them that they can just let it go.” Atlanta was outrebounded by a 55-28 margin in Game 3 but coach Mike Budenholzer downplayed the differential by saying “we outrebounded them in the first game and lost. I think what matters more is who scores the most.”
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
LINE HISTORY: With their backs up against the wall, the Hawks have opened as 5-point home pups for Game 4 and the line has yet to move off that number. The total opened at 202 and has been bet up to 203. Check out the complete line history here.
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (64-25, 42-44-3 ATS, 45-44 O/U): Frye’s performance was easily the best postseason showing of his career as his previous best effort was 20 points in 2010 when he played for the Phoenix Suns. He said teammate James Jones told him to shoot more because he’s not a good passer and James has also been urging him to hoist more long-range shots. Three other Cavaliers topped 20 points – James had 24 points and 13 rebounds, point guard Kyrie Irving scored 24 points and power forward Kevin Love made five 3-pointers while contributing 21 points and 15 rebounds.
ABOUT THE HAWKS (52-39, 45-45-1 ATS, 41-50 O/U): Atlanta attempted to shake things up in Game 3 by inserting Thabo Sefolosha into the starting lineup and bringing shooting guard Kyle Korver off the bench. The move helped Korver as he made five 3-pointers while scoring 18 points – he averaged five points over the first two contests – while center Al Horford also had a breakout performance with 24 points on 11-of-15 shooting and expressed that more moves are necessary. “We’re fighting for our playoff lives right now,” Horford told reporters. “At this point, we have to do some changes, because what we’ve done hasn’t worked.”
* Cavaliers are 7-0 ATS in the last seven meetings.
* Hawks are 1-7 ATS in their last eight games following a SU loss.
* Over is 4-1 in Cavaliers last five road games.
* Under is 5-0 in Hawks last five when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game.
San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder (+1, 198)
Spurs lead series 2-1
Oklahoma City small forward Kevin Durant could be playing his final home game as a member of the franchise when the Thunder host the San Antonio Spurs in Sunday’s Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals. Durant has been coy about his postseason free-agent intentions and an Oklahoma City loss on Sunday would present the Spurs with the opportunity to close out the series at home in Game 5.
Durant isn’t interested in discussing whether or not he will return to the Thunder and also scoffed at questions pertaining to how the team will need to win at least one more time in San Antonio to win the series. “We play Sunday,” Durant said at Friday’s postgame press conference. “We play Sunday. We can’t worry about going to San Antonio. We’ve got another game here.” Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard was the Game 3 hero with 31 points and 11 rebounds in a 100-96 victory while power forward LaMarcus Aldridge continued his strong series with 24 points and eight rebounds. Aldridge is averaging 34.3 points and shooting 63.1 percent in the series.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT
LINE HISTORY: The Thunder have opened Game 4 as slight 1-point home pups and have remained at that number. The total has been bet down one point from its opening number of 199 to the current 198. Check out the complete line history here.
ABOUT THE SPURS (73-16, 49-40 ATS, 37-50-2 O/U): Veteran point guard Tony Parker scored 19 points in Game 3 after averaging 4.5 over the first two games and also contributed eight rebounds and five assists in a strong all-around effort. “It was great,” Parker told reporters. “I got a couple of more shots than usual. Just have to be aggressive. It’s all about the team. Kawhi and LaMarcus, they were unbelievable. I just had to do my part.” Leonard’s 30-point outing was his second of the postseason and he is averaging 23.3 points in the Oklahoma City series.
ABOUT THE THUNDER (60-30, 41-48-1 ATS, 43-47 O/U): Standout point guard Russell Westbrook had 31 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in Game 3 but his five turnovers and porous 10-of-31 shooting stood out in a four-point loss. “Too many shots,” Westbrook told reporters. “I’ve got to do a better job getting guys shots. I’ve got to get other guys involved, especially to beat this team. Even though I had some shots I usually make, I’ve got to read and find ways to get guys shots. I take the blame.” Durant only took 18 shots (making 10) while scoring 26 points and red-hot power forward Serge Ibaka (15 points on five 3-pointers) could have received more attempts (eight overall, six from 3-point range).
* Spurs are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 Conference Semi finals games.
* Thunder are 4-0 ATS in their last four games following a SU loss.
* Under is 5-1 in the last six meetings.
* Under is 14-2 in Spurs last 16 road games versus a team with a winning home record.
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