We took the loss with the Cavaliers last night, who took just their first loss in the entire postseason, falling a game short of tying the record for most consecutive victories to start an NBA postseason. So is there any cause for alarm for Cleveland fans? Can Toronto actually make this a series? After all, there are some mild rumors Valencunias could return (albeit, those reports are a little optimistic), and either way, Game Four will be in Toronto where the Raptors looked so alive and energized last night.
My gut feel is, NO. Kyrie Irving was 3 of 17 from the floor. Kevin Love was 1 of 9. That is a combined 4 for 26 from the field, or just over 15%. That is such a statistical anomaly, it hardly merits further explanation. Add in the DeMarr DeRozan had 32 points and Bismack Biyombo had 26 rebounds (and a few chippy fouls…) and it tees up Game Four for a great regression to the mean and a Cavaliers victory.
Meanwhile, things are getting REAL tonight in the Western Conference Finals. Game Three finds the Thunder and Warriors knotted at a game apiece with a pivotal match tonight in Oklahoma City. Can the Thunder consolidate the break they earned with a Game One victory? Or can the Warriors put a lot of anxious fans at ease by getting the series back on serve with a road win tonight?
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Today’s Free Pick:
Golden State Warriors -2.5 at Oklahoma City Thunder (Total: 220.5)
It’s fair to say tonight is the biggest game to this point in the NBA season. Winners of Game Three’s have a statistical dominance in tied series, and given the Warriors prohibitive favorite status entering the postseason, could put the Thunder in tantalizing position to make some real history.
But can OKC slow down the Warriors explosive offense? It was just a few brief lapses that turned Game Two from competitive to a laugher. The Warriors turn a tie game into a ten point deficit and a game with some reasonable competitiveness to a twenty point rout quicker than any team I have ever seen play NBA basketball. That was the case in Game Two – close game with a few minutes left in the half – then BAM – double digit game mere minutes later. A similar run early in the second half got Steph and company enough breathing room to get a few minutes on the bench.
Both teams should be well rested as the series flipped back to the Eastern Conference for Games Two and Three, allotting for five days of rest. That could mean real trouble for OKC. The only thing slowing the Warriors at any point this season were the ankles and knees of Steph Curry. He looked nice in Game Two. Five days of ice and rest should have him back in prime MVP form.
The Thunder are really good. They have two of the five best players on Earth and an athletic stable of bigs to mix things up. But the Warriors are historically good. Don’t forget they were 18 games better this regular season and are FINALLY healthy. I think they stretch it out a bit in Game Three and retake control of this series on the road.