After narrowly failing to seal the deal in regulation and then falling apart in overtime in Game 1, there’s one big question that NBA fans and betting enthusiasts need to be answered heading into the weekend. Can LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers pull off the outright upset or simply cover the chalk when they take on Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors in Game 2 of the 2018 NBA Finals on Sunday? Thanks to my expert basketball analysis and accompanying free pick for this matchup in the NBA Finals, you’re about to find out right now.


Game Information

🏆: #NBAFinals
🏀: Cleveland Cavaliers Vs Golden State Warriors
🏟️: ORACLE Arena, Oakland, CA
⏰: 8:00pm/ Sunday, June 03, 2018.
📺: #NBAonABC
🎰: Golden State Warriors -12 -110 | -800 | U 215½ -110


LeBron James put on an epic show in scoring a game-high 51 points to lead Cleveland to the brink of an upset, but the rest of his Cavaliers teammates (like J.R. Smith) did not match his effort in Game 1 and the Cavs fell apart in overtime of their 124-114 overtime loss in Game 1 on Thursday night.

James was unstoppable as he shot a stellar 19 for 32 from the field, 3 of 7 from beyond the arc and 10 of 11 from the free throw line. Kevin Love added 21 points and 13 rebounds and Smith added 10 points but shot just 3 of 10 from the field while making a costly blunder with just over four seconds remaining in regulation.

NBA Finals Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors Game 2

“He thought it was over. He thought we were up one,” coach Tyronn Lue said.

“I just thought we were going to call a timeout. Because I got the rebound, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t shoot it over KD,” Smith said of Kevin Durant. “If I thought we were ahead, I would have just held on to the ball so they could foul me. Clearly, that wasn’t the case.”

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, James is the only player in NBA history to score or assist on 70 points in a Finals game and lose. He has now done it twice, both times against the Warriors.

NBA Finals Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors Game 2 2

“We’ve got to move on,” James said. “This game is over and done with. We had opportunities.”

Cleveland shot 44.4 percent from the field but just 27 percent from three-point distance.

The Warriors got a team-high 29 points from Steph Curry, 26 points from Kevin Durant and 24 points from Klay Thompson in the win while Draymond Green approached a triple-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists. Shaun Livingston came off the bench to chip in 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting. Still, even with those performances, Golden State needed a little bit of luck late to get the win.

NBA Finals Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors Game 2 3

“We got lucky,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “We got lucky.”

Golden State shot an impressive 51.5 percent from the field and 36.1 percent from downtown (13-for-36).

“Sometimes you need a little luck,” forward Draymond Green said. “It’s good to be lucky sometimes. So I’ll take it.”


Prediction

While LeBron James will be well-rested for Game 2 with two full days off, I’m thinking anything less than another super-human effort is going to get the Cavaliers soundly spanked the next time these two rivals take to the court. The fact of the matter is that James and James alone (okay and Kevin Love), just isn’t good enough to beat a Golden State team that features four all-star players.

Right now, I’m thinking James is about due for a mere mortal performance of fewer than 40 points while Golden State comes out a lot more focused from the start to both, beat the Cavs and cover the spread of about a dozen points.

NBA Finals Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors Game 2 4

While Cleveland has gone a near perfect 5-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. Western Conference and identical 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall, the Cavaliers are also just 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games playing on 2 days rest and 2-4 ATS in the last 6 road dates against Golden State.

Conversely, the Warriors are 6-3 ATS in their last nine games against the Cavs and again, I’m expecting a more complete effort from the Warriors in Game 2, particularly if they have two-way stalwart Andre Iguodala back on the floor. Golden State wasn’t very impressive in Game 1, but I think their lack of a complete performance will produce a better effort from start to finish in Game 2.

Pick: Golden State Warriors -12


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