Cleveland vs Golden State NBA Finals 2018 - Game 2
Despite barely getting by in game one, Golden State enters game two as -11.0 point spread favourites and -550 on the money line. Cleveland will be live underdogs at +11.0 on the spread and +425 on the ML.
James made history by becoming just the sixth player to score over 50 points in an NBA Finals but the first to lose. Thanks to an epic blunder by J.R. Smith, who inexplicably forgot what the score was, the Warriors defeated James’s Cavs in overtime.
With the win, Golden State improves to 9-1 at home during the playoffs although they are only 2-3 against the spread in their last five home games. Cleveland drops to 4-6 on the road during the playoffs and only 2-8 versus the Warriors in their last ten meetings.
Game one showed exactly why the Cavs are massive underdogs: not even a herculean effort from James was enough to save them. James posted 51 points on 59.3 per cent shooting but practically gave up after Smith’s blunder as Golden State outscored Cleveland 17-7 in overtime.
Kevin Love came up big for Cleveland in a quiet way adding 21 points and 13 boards with only one turnover but missed seven of his eight three-pointers.
Cleveland covered the 12-point spread but they not only had the chance to cash as big underdogs but go up 1-0 on the Warriors, a pivotal moment. Now, Cleveland once again finds themselves behind to start the series, the third of the fourth time, and the manner which they lost couldn’t be more disheartening.
Golden State got major games from Steph Curry who led the team with 29 points and Draymond Green who filled the stat sheet with 13 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, five steals, and two blocks. Kevin Durant had 26 points and led the game with a +17 plus/minus rating but once again disappeared during the fourth period and overtime.
It’s hard to back Cleveland to beat Golden State when a 51-point performance from James wasn’t enough. Had James not played like a man possessed, Golden State would’ve run away with the game. But 11-points is again a ridiculous spread and even if Cleveland is reeling from the loss, Golden State’s on-and-off offence is hard to trust.
Bank on Cleveland to cover the 11-point spread. These Cavs are used to playing from behind and James has a short memory. He’ll stay aggressive versus Golden State. And unless he proves otherwise, Durant has been a ghost when the game is on the line. Golden State wins this game but Cleveland covers.
NBA Championship Odds Update
Thanks to the game one victory, the Warriors have jumped to -2000 as favourites to win the NBA title with the comeback on Cleveland at +800. The series handicap is -2.5 for Golden State set at -333 while +2.5 on Cleveland is lined at +225.
If Golden State wins game two, expect these lines to go off the board until Cleveland can get back in the series by winning game three.
Curry has supplanted Durant as the Finals MVP and is now the slight favourite at +110. Durant is down to +120 and James is +600 for Cleveland.
If game one is any indication for the rest of the series, Curry is a good bet to win his first Finals MVP but like the 2014-15 Finals, any player (Andre Iguodala in that year) can get hot during the final games and steal the award.
Cavaliers vs Warriors Head to Head Record
Cavaliers vs Warriors All-Time Record
The Warriors and Cavs have met 111 times in the regular season with Golden State holding the edge: 59-52. Since the 2013-14 season, the Warriors have won seven of their last ten meetings and have won the last three.
Golden State is outscoring Cleveland on average 114.8 to 106.7 during this span. The Warriors have the edge in most major statistical category including field goal percentage (47 per cent to 42.3 per cent), rebounding average (46.3 to 43.8), and three-pointers made (132 to 115).
Overall, the Warriors have a slight edge as a franchise in terms of their win-loss record. Golden State has an all-time regular season record of 1,827-1979 (.480) compared to Cleveland’s all-time record of 1,829-2059 (.470).
Both franchises have been similar in its history. Before this current dynasty that began around the 2012-13 season, the Warriors were a sorry franchise having only made one playoff appearance in almost two decades prior. This was an incredible playoff run as they upset the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks though they lost the following round.
The Cavaliers have been just as inept especially without James. While the King flourished in Miami, Cleveland tanked and finished in the bottom-four of the NBA for four straight seasons. And before drafting him, the Cavs had four consecutive seasons where they lost over 50 games.
Since starting as a franchise in 1970-71, the Cavaliers only enjoyed moderate success. They qualified for the NBA playoffs repeatedly but only made it past the first round three times. They were best known for consistently losing to the Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls from 1988 to 1994.
Cavaliers vs Warriors NBA Playoffs Record
Golden State finished with a 12-5 record to win their fourth consecutive Western Conference title. They ran through San Antonio and New Orleans defeating each in five games but struggled against the top-seeded Houston Rockets in the Conference Finals.
It took a historically bad shooting night for Houston for Golden State to manage a nine-point victory. Houston missed an NBA-record 27 straight three-pointers as the Warriors overcame an 11-point deficit at halftime. Golden State was held to under 100 points in two of the final four games.
Cleveland also struggled before winning their fourth straight Eastern Conference title. They finished with a 12-6 record including having two seven-game series against the Boston Celtics in the Conference Finals and against the Indiana Pacers in the first-round.
The Cavaliers swept the top-seeded Toronto Raptors in the semifinals but barely got by the young Celtics and Pacers squads. Like Golden State, Cleveland benefited from Boston shooting horribly by missing 32 of their 39 three-pointers.
All-time, Golden State has a 171-151 (.531) playoffs record thanks to their budding dynasty. But they also won the NBA Championship back in 1974-75 in their fourth year in Oakland. Cleveland has a better playoffs record at 119-97 (.551) thanks primarily to James.
Cavaliers vs Warriors NBA Finals Record
This is the fourth time the Warriors and Cavs meet in the NBA Finals. Golden State holds the edge winning two of the three Finals. Overall, they are 11-7 versus Cleveland in the NBA Finals.
Golden State defeated Cleveland 4-2 in their first meeting in 2015. Cleveland retaliated and won 4-3 the following year in 2016. Golden State won the rubber match easily with a 4-1 victory in 2017.
The Cavs and Warriors are now the fourth and fifth franchises to reach four straight NBA Finals, joining the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat.
||Golden State Warriors
||Los Angeles Lakers
2017 – Cavaliers 1-4 Warriors
The most lopsided NBA Finals since the San Antonio Spurs took out LeBron James’s Miami Heat in five games in the 2014 Finals. Following their 2016 meltdown, the Warriors acquired Kevin Durant and laid waste to the NBA becoming the first team to go 12-0 to reach the NBA Finals.
Golden State went 3-0 to start the series (15-0 overall) blowing out Cleveland by over 20 points for the first two games then edging them in game three. Cleveland caught fire in game four and blew out Golden State but there was no comeback this year as the Warriors wrapped up the series back in Oakland.
Durant won Finals MVP averaging 35.2 points on 55.6 per cent shooting (47.4 from three) to go with 8.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists. James averaged a triple-double: 33.6 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists but it wasn’t enough as Golden State won their second title in three years.
2016 – Cavaliers 4-3 Warriors
This was the NBA Finals that cemented James’s legacy as the greatest player of his generation. James captured his third Finals MVP by leading the Cavaliers past the Warriors in seven games becoming the first team to overcome a 3-1 series deficit in an NBA Finals.
This series wasn’t without controversy as Draymond Green was suspended for game five back in Oakland, which could have sealed the title for Golden State. They blew out Cleveland in the first two games by a margin of 48 points but just couldn’t put Cleveland away.
James put up the greatest stat line with 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 2.6 steals, and 2.3 blocks becoming the first and only player to lead all players in all stats. His incredible performance included a late block on Andre Iguodala to help seal the city of Cleveland’s first major title making it one of the all-time best NBA Finals.
2015 – Cavaliers 2-4 Warriors
Golden State completed their dream season with a little luck. The Cavaliers lost Kevin Love for the entire series and Kyrie Irving after the first. Despite being undermanned, James took over averaging 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 8.8 assists to lead Cleveland to a 2-1 series lead after three games.
Coach Kerr shuffled the Warriors lineup bringing sixth man Andre Iguodala to the starting lineup and it was all she wrote as the Warriors took the final three games en route to their first title in over 40 years. Iguodala won Finals MVP after leading the Warriors in scoring (tied with Curry) in two of the final three games and helped contain James.
James shot only 39.8 per cent for the series. Despite starting the series strong, the Cavaliers couldn’t overcome the Warriors’ depth and firepower. Had the Cavaliers been fully healthy, it would’ve been a different series as the following year proved.