The Cleveland Cavaliers play host to the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of the NBA Finals looking to level the series.
Warriors @ Cavaliers begins at 11.00am on Saturday. Watch and bet on the NBA Finals at bet365 or William Hill.
The Cleveland Cavaliers head into Game 4 of the NBA Finals brimming with confidence after demolishing the Golden State Warriors at home last Wednesday.
Led by LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, the Cavaliers walloped the Warriors 120-90 to trim their opponents' lead in the best-of-seven series to 2-1. James finished with 32 points, 11 rebounds and six assists while Irving had 30 points and eight assists after behind held to 10 points in Game 2.
JR Smith added 20 points including five triples after being a non-factor in the first two games of the series while Tristan Thompson had 14 points and 13 rebounds. The Cavaliers snapped their seven-game skid against the Warriors to stay unbeaten at home in the playoffs this season.
They also won despite missing All-Star forward Kevin Love, who was elbowed in the head by Harrison Barnes in Game 2 and remains uncertain for Game 4.
"We can't afford to go down 3-1 and go into their building and give them confidence going back. So it's a do-or-die game for us still," James said
The biggest non-factor for the Warriors in Game 3 was Draymond Green, who scored only six points after erupting for 28 in their 110-77 rout of the Cavaliers in Game 2. Klay Thompson likewise was held to just 10 points. Stephen Curry paced Golden State in their last game with 19 points but the two-time reigning league MVP has yet to make a mark in the series.
"Just think about the OKC series. We're down 3-1, he hadn't played well," said Kerr referring to Curry's struggles in the finals. "Look what he did the last few games. So that's Steph. That's who he is. He always responds. He's got a huge heart, competitive as hell, and extremely talented. I know how he will respond. He'll play well. He always does."
Barnes, who had 18 points and eight rebounds in Game 3, could give Kerr a much-needed scoring option outside of his Big Three while last season's Finals MVP Andre Iguodala has been consistent so far.
The blowouts continued with The Cavs shocking everybody with a 30 points win in Game 3 to end any speculation of a sweep. It was the biggest turn around in finals history and following a 33 point loss in Game 2, no one – including The Wolf, gave the Cavs a chance.
The absence of Kevin Love was a blessing in disguise and coach Lue will be crazy to start him in Game 4 following the success of Richard Jefferson in the startin five. The search party has been sent out to find the Splash Brothers but they have come up with nothing. Curry and Thompson have a combined 84 points through three games and the reality is if LeBron had been putting up the same numbers as Steph we would have thrown all sorts of criticism his way.
Steph should not, and WILL NOT get off the hook if he fails to show up in another Finals match. He has proved to be a one dimensional player in the NBA Finals and when they have gotten physical with him he has struggled. Double teaming him has definitely worked and he has failed to both break through screens and find open team-mates with the pass.
We questioned LeBron leading into Game 3 but he delivered with 32 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists. The performance of Kyrie though was the key, in particular his 16 points in the 1st quarter. He set the tone for the Cavs and the early lead allowed them to set the tone defensively. It remains to be seen if they can get off to the same fast start.
If there is one word that The Wolf has been tired of hearing in the playoffs it is ‘effort’. It is the NBA Finals for crying out loud. EFFORT! Let’s not bring back Allen Iverson and his ‘practice’ antics. At the end of the day though that was ‘practice’ and this is the NBA Finals.
There is no excuse for not turning up and giving it your all. Steve Kerr labelled his teams performance as soft and there really can be no bigger criticism. Curry has to return to what worked in the closing three games of the series against OKC. In those three games he averaged just 11 3-points attempts (13 per game this series) and almost 8 free throws per game. He has just 4 free throw attempts through three games in the Finals!
With Adams, Kanter, Ibaka and Durant the Thunder has a much bigger paint presence than the Cavs yet he still got to the line. The Warriors need to go back to moving the ball and Steph needs to both drive and cut a lot more rather than constantly trying to run off screen in order to hit three pointers.
If there is one thing we know about the Warriors it is that they are a great bounce back team. They are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 following a ATS loss and they still hold a 6-2 record ATS in their last 8 against the Cavs. Meanwhile Cleveland will again rely on their home court dominance. They are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 at home and will ride the fact that the favourite is 6-2 ATS in the last 8 meetings.
The Wolf though is sticking to the total for his best bet. The Over is 6-0 in the Cavs last 6 at home against a team with a winning % greater than .600 and 6-2 in the Warriors last 8 following a double digit loss. The Splash Brothers are yet to show their colours in the NBA Finals and all we need is one of them to go off to sent the total over. This could be the game where all the stars shine. With the playoffs consistently throwing up curves ball and unusual results The Wolf says we will find a heap of value in Game 4.