Let’s start with the obvious, as well as the thing that defies metrics and is difficult to measure but undeniably powerful; this Cleveland team played as hard as any team I have ever seen play basketball in Game Three. Animal ferocity. Unabashed and unabandoned hustle. It was absolutely spectacular to watch…. But the lingering question remains – can they possibly muster up the same effort again for the third game in five nights?
Am I stubborn to remain skeptical? If so, Vegas and the sharps are stubborn too. Despite two straight games of LeBron madness and physical dominance, the Warriors are STILL favored tonight in Game Four – on the road nonetheless.
So where do we go in Game Four? Do we stay the course with numbers, metrics, regression to the mean, and every other unobjective data point? Or do we switch course and join the “want it more” narrative of the underdog and undermanned Cavaliers?
Let’s dive into Game Four.
NBA FINALS – GAME FOUR
Golden State Warriors -2.5 at Cleveland Cavaliers (Total: 193.5)
Remember when the overall point totals for this series were well into the 200’s? No longer. After three straight games of defensive dominance, Vegas isn’t ready to abandon the Warriors, but they are ready to abandon the notion of this being a shootout. The total plummeted for tonight’s game, and I think it represents a good opportunity for a winning wager.
If forced to pick a side, I remain (perhaps stubbornly) on the side of numbers and the Dubs. But along with that faith, I think offenses get a little resurgence tonight. I just can’t imagine the Cavs being able to defend as well yet again tonight with their MASH unit. Delly has already gone to the hospital for dehydration and fatigue (of course he will play tonight, and probably fairly well) and Iman Shumpert appears to be hurting as well. Add in Love, Irving and Andy Verajao, and things are getting ridiculous. Shawn Marion might actually have to play tonight. If he gets hurt, you or I might get a jersey. They are really running out of bodies.
At some point, depth and fatigue will trump even the seeming super-human will of LeBron and the Cavs. I think that begins tonight. The Cavs desperately need the extra day off they will get after tonight – and who knows at that point, maybe LeBron can continue one of the most remarkable performances in the history of team sports.
But for tonight, I think the ball gets back to moving quickly and creating open shots. I like the total to creep over – plus we get the hidden benefit of a possible overtime (every game has been close) to backdoor the total if need be…
I’m still leaning Warriors. I just think sooner or later fatigue and attrition will lend to a regression to the mean. But for tonight, my official pick is on the over 193.5
Free Pick: Point TOTAL OVER 193.5