Tip-off: Wednesday, 9:05 p.m. ET
: Golden State -1.5, Total: 206
The Warriors will be looking to take a 3-0 series lead when they face the Cavaliers in Game 3 on Wednesday.
This series has not been as competitive as people thought it would be, as Golden State won the first two games by a combined 48 points. The Warriors shot 49.4% from the field in Game 1 and 54.3% in Game 2 and they also held the Cavaliers to under 40.0% shooting from the field in each of those games.
If Cleveland is going to claw its way back into this series then the team is going to have to be a lot better on both ends of the floor. The hope for the Cavaliers is that the shift back to Quicken Loans Arena will give them some more energy. This Game 3 is ultimately a do-or-die, as the Cavaliers are not going to win two more games at Oracle Arena.
One trend that stands out when looking into this game is that the Warriors are 20-8 ATS versus teams that are making 36% or more of their three point attempts this season. They’re also facing a Cavaliers team that is 15-38 ATS in home games off of a road loss where the team scored less than 80 points since 1996 and 0-7 ATS after scoring 85 points or less this season. Cleveland is, however, an impressive 13-4 ATS after allowing 100 points or more in two straight games this season.
One major injury to point out is that PF Kevin Love (Concussion) is questionable for this one. He was hit in the head by an elbow in Game 2 and will need to clear the NBA’s concussion protocol if he is going to play in this one.
The Warriors are up 2-0 in this series and really cruised in both of their home games against this Cavs team. They will have a much harder time winning in Cleveland. If Golden State is going to take one or both of these road games then the team will need PG Stephen Curry (24.8 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 5.9 APG, 1.5 SPG in playoffs) and SG Klay Thompson (24.8 PPG, 1.1 SPG in playoffs) to step it up.
Curry and Thompson combined for just 20 points in Game 1 and 35 points in Game 2. Role players do, however, tend to play worse on the road and that means that the Warriors will likely need the “splash brothers” to go off in this one. They should have no trouble doing that, as Curry is shooting 41.0% from the outside in the postseason and Thompson is shooting an absurd 44.6% from deep.
PF Draymond Green (15.8 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 5.9 APG, 1.9 BPG, 1.7 SPG in playoffs) will need to continue to play well for Golden State. He had 28 points in Game 2 and continues to play well on both ends of the floor. If he can keep playing lockdown defense then what he does on offense will just be an added bonus. The Warriors have also gotten tremendous play from their bench and it’d be huge if that remains the case moving forward.
The Cavaliers are getting embarrassed in this series and SF LeBron James (24.1 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 7.3 APG, 2.3 SPG in playoffs) will need to be a lot better for his team. James has turned the ball over 11 times in this series and he is just 16-for-38 from the floor as well. Cleveland needs him to be more aggressive going to the basket, as he has the ability to draw fouls whenever he wants. He also must be a lot more careful with the ball, as the Warriors make teams pay off of turnovers.
James does need some help from his teammates and PG Kyrie Irving (23.5 PPG, 4.8 APG, 1.7 SPG in playoffs) and PF Kevin Love (16.5 PPG, 9.4 RPG in playoffs) have not been providing that. Irving had just 10 points on 5-for-14 shooting in Game 2 and has been horrible defensively. He needs to find a way to be more efficient on offense, but he also needs to make sure he holds his own on the defensive end.
Love, meanwhile, will need to be a lot better if he does end up playing in Game 3. He is just 9-for-24 from the floor in this series and has been exposed defensively as well. The Cavaliers need him to start knocking down some threes when he is healthy.