The Golden State Warriors are in command of the NBA Finals heading into game three of the series following their second win over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Oracle Arena.
Steve Kerr’s men were clinical on the court to put the Cavs to the sword, triumphing by a 19-point margin to put huge pressure on LeBron James and company as the series heads to Cleveland.
The Warriors were in control of the contest from the off and Tyronn Lue’s men were unable to issue enough of a response to drag themselves back into the match.
Steph Curry had his performance of the post-season, nailing his efforts from distance. The 30-year-old has carved out a reputation as the finest three-point shooter in the history of the game. He proved that point making nine of his 17 attempts from the perimeter.
Other than Curry, the Warriors had their usual 20-point contributions from Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant. However, Golden State got excellent production from their squad players as Javale McGee, Shaun Livingston and Jordan Bell all had success on the court.
If Cleveland are not able to stop the bench players from scoring then they have little hope of extending the Finals beyond game four. LeBron was not his usual self as he appeared to be feeling the effects of his 51-point outing in game when he left everything out on the court.
Kevin Love continued his impressive post-season, while George Hill was solid enough. However, JR Smith struggled once again, making only two of his nine attempts from the field. Cleveland need the players around LeBron to get into the twenties more than ever on home soil.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors are on the path to the NBA Championship without being at their best in the post-season. Curry delivered somewhere near his peak form in game two of the series, finding the hoop with ease from distance. His consistency throughout the match was crucial in keeping the Cavaliers at arms’ length. He notched 33 points, his best tally of the playoffs after recovering from an MCL injury that at one point did threaten his season. With the 30-year-old back to top form, the Cavaliers have an almost impossible task to defend the perimeter and the paint. As a result, it opened up room for others to contribute for Kerr’s men.
Durant has not his stride in the Finals, failing to match his performance of last season. He still scored 26 points, although he does set an incredibly high standard. Durant made the most of his shots from the field, firing in 71% of his attempts. The 29-year-old will be desperate to have a signature game in the post-season and proving his mettle on the road could wrap up the series in four games. Thompson had another solid game and has settled into his role in the Finals. He notched 20 points and made eight of his 13 attempts from the field. Should he go off in game three it would not be a surprise as the big three appear to be alternating when to take the leading the role.
The difference in game two was the contributions from the squad players. McGee used the attention drawn by Curry, Thompson and Durant to find success in the paint. He put 12 points on the board, sinking all of his attempts at the hoop. Livingston was equally as effective as he made all 10 of his points from close range using the space on the inside to great effect. If they continue to enjoy that level of production then the Cavaliers will have no chance of winning one match.
The Cavaliers were outplayed in game two of the series. There’s no shame in being beaten by a team of the Warriors’ calibre, but Lue’s men have put themselves in a desperate position heading back to Cleveland. They cannot afford another defeat, especially one on home soil that would leave Golden State one win away from securing the Championship.
LeBron was outstanding in game one, which makes the frustration of losing the game in the manner that the Cavs’ did even worse. He appeared to be jaded in game two after his exertions. The 33-year-old still scored 29 points, making 50 of his attempts from the field. However, LeBron was not quite as effective in the defensive third as he had trouble tracking back. Cleveland need him back at his peak form to get back into the Finals.
Love was impressive for the second game on the bounce. He has been extremely active in and around the rim, although he was not accurate in his attempts, especially from the perimeter where he made three of his eight three-pointers. Love notched 22 points to ease the pressure on LeBron, but he needs to be slightly more efficient when he goes for the basket. Hill had a stronger outing than game one, putting 15 points on the board. He took plenty of shots from the field, which was encouraging for the Cavs to see someone take the initiative. Hill was shooting at 41% – a level that needs to improve on home soil.
Smith’s performances in the Conference Finals and Finals have been detrimental to his team. He’s somehow still starting games even after his massive blunder in the opener. Smith has been slightly more effective at Quicken Loans Arena and needs to up the ante in game three to save his blushes. The same could be said of Kyle Korver, Jeff Green and Jordan Clarkson, who all need to step up.
The Cavaliers are on their heels and need to produce a response to their two defeats. They’ve been solid on home soil in the post-season, but the Warriors will not be as forgiving as their previous opponents. Golden State will be keen to wrap up the crown in Cleveland without having to play another match at Oracle Arena.
Expect them to come out firing to take control to test the willingness of the Cavs to continue the battle. Take the Warriors to triumph in game three at odds of 1.56Bet €100 to win €15614/25Bet £100 to win £156-179Bet $100 to win $1560.56Bet HK$100 to win HK$156-1.79Bet Rp100 to win Rp1560.5600Bet RM100 to win RM156 with BetOnline, while the Cavs are a good option on the spread to keep the game close at +2.5 at 2.18Bet €100 to win €21859/50Bet £100 to win £218+118Bet $100 to win $2181.18Bet HK$100 to win HK$2181.18Bet Rp100 to win Rp218-0.8475Bet RM100 to win RM218 with 888Sport.
Golden State Warriors To Beat Cleveland Cavaliers Game Three
Wednesday 6th June 2018 21:00 ET (Thursday 7th June 2018 02:00 BST)
Odds: 1.56Bet €100 to win €15614/25Bet £100 to win £156-179Bet $100 to win $1560.56Bet HK$100 to win HK$156-1.79Bet Rp100 to win Rp1560.5600Bet RM100 to win RM156
Take Cleveland Cavaliers +2.5 Spread
Wednesday 6th June 2018 21:00 ET (Thursday 7th June 2018 02:00 BST)
Odds: 2.18Bet €100 to win €21859/50Bet £100 to win £218+118Bet $100 to win $2181.18Bet HK$100 to win HK$2181.18Bet Rp100 to win Rp218-0.8475Bet RM100 to win RM218
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Golden State Warriors
- NBA Finals
- Steph Curry