Last night was a good reminder of how rapidly-changing and ‘hard to trust your eyes’ the NBA Playoffs can be. For two straight games in Toronto, the Raptors seemed to have solved the Cavaliers. They were torching Kyrie off the dribble, forcing Kevin Love into hibernation, and dominating the game on both ends of the floor.
Last night, Cleveland went back home and won by 40. Kevin Love had more points than minutes played, and this time the fact that he sat the fourth quarter was cause for celebration rather than panicked chatter.
Things turn QUICKLY. Which is why I would be very cautious about burying the Champs just yet…
Did Oklahoma City dominate the Warriors in stunning and absolute fashion in Games Three and Four? Absolutely. But did Golden State wax them off the court in the last game in Oakland? Yes again. Could this series end tonight? It is possible. And if it doesn’t end tonight, there isn’t a ton of evidence so far that Golden State is in a good spot if they earn a Game Six in Oklahoma City. But to bury the winningest team in the history of the NBA regular season before they get a Zombieland double-tap might be a little premature.
That said, do they win tonight? And perhaps more important for our purposes, do they cover?
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Today’s Free Pick:
Oklahoma City Thunder at Golden State Warriors -7
To me, this pick is as simple as “do you think Steph is hurt, or do you think he just had a really, really lousy game?” Is Steph simply not as good as Westbrook? Or did the series just take the normal home court ebb and flow to a jarring extreme? After all, did you SEE the 45+ point turnaround last night in the Cleveland and Toronto series? It is not at all uncommon for the better team to return home wounded and emerge ferociously victorious.
If you WATCHED the last two games, it is really HARD to pick the Warriors tonight. In fact, this is very much a Charlie Brown running to the football game – either way, you are ripe for a foolish fall. Trust your eyes and the Thunder, and there is a strong possibility of a 25-point blasting coming tonight in the Bay. Trust that surely, certainly, the Champs will rebound back home, and you could be subject to the obvious laughter from gloating Warrior haters if indeed Draymond and Steph can’t get it going tonight and turn in another “can’t handle the length of OKC” effort.
At the risk of foolishness, I am going to trust patience, calm, and Vegas. There is a REASON the Warriors are STILL an average of 7.5 point favorites tonight across the board, even after two miserable performances. Vegas doesn’t knee-jerk and they trust the numbers. I am going to trust the larger sample size tonight as well. Golden State went 39-2 at home this season. They looked fantastic in Game Two at home. I am going to roll the dice on a small play tonight and back them to bounce back one last time.