It’s a sheepish walk I’m making back to the computer screen to type this one up. I got caught up the Golden State bubble in Game 4 and gave back some of my winnings and just about all of my dignity. Always finish what you start, though. The Warriors have another chance to win the NBA Title tonight.
Listening to Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant talk after the game, it sounds like the Warriors realize why they got beat in Game 4 and how to avoid it in Game 4. Ty Lue isn’t punking them with some mastermind scheme; the Cavaliers came out desperate in Game 4 with a raucous crowd behind them.
That aggressiveness combined with the fact that Cleveland was down 3-0 probably didn’t lead to the referees giving them any favors but the Warriors were good not to make any accusations.
Curry, especially, made it all seem very simple and straightforward: his team just has to assert itself in the first quarter in Game 5 and we’ll get back to how things went in the first three games. Does it mean Golden State will run more? Probably. But it also probably means the Warriors will hit a few more Cavaliers and be a bit more methodical and clinical in the game’s first six minutes.
Of course, Cleveland heard these comments and it will do its best to be ready for Golden State’s best shot. Therein lies the danger of being the aggressor: if you come out playing as hard as you can and it isn’t enough to ride a wave the rest of the way, it gives the opponent a counter opportunity. If Golden State is going to expel itself in the first quarter, it better be effective – and smart – in doing so.
At this point, it’s not believable that Kevin Durant is going to have a bad game. Draymond Green is about as steady as they come because if he isn’t making shots he doesn’t have to keep taking them. The Splash Brothers are key. If Curry struggles, it’s a huge leg up for Cleveland but it’s also rare. Considering he had his bad game the last time, I don’t think he’ll be subpar in Game 5.
That leaves Klay Thompson. If he’s playing aggressively and hitting shots, the Warriors win this one going away. If not, it’s close but Golden State still probably wins.
I love the moneyline at -330, which is saying something at my level of frugality. That said, I do think Golden State clinches and covers tonight. The Warriors weren’t their best in Game 4 and you almost can’t blame them. They had to clinch in Cleveland two years ago. They want to party in the Bay in 2017.
Free Pick: Warriors -9
Cleveland Cavaliers • Golden State Warriors • Kevin Durant • LeBron James • NBA Finals • Stephen Curry