NBA Game 5 Preview
OUR NBA FINALS GAME 5 PREVIEW ...PLUS THERE'S MLB NEWS/NOTES
Maybe that was a dose of "reality TV" this past Thursday night when the Golden State Warriors - the NBA's far-and-away best team in regular-season play - crushed the Cleveland Cavaliers 103-82 in Game 4 of this year's NBA Finals.
The reality of the situation is that these Finals are now knotted at two games apiece but gotta believe the aforementioned Warriors are looking at the "glass half full" what with Sunday's Game 5 and a potential Game 7 come Friday night both at the always-rowdy Oracle Arena in Oakland.
P.S., the Warriors lost only two regular-season at "Roar-oracle" and just one post-season game so far. Still, Cavalier optimism remains high when it comes to a couple of items here:
The "extra day" between Game 4 and Game 5 has to be a benefit to a Cleveland club running on fumes (yes, we did take note that LeBron James played "only" 41 minutes in that Game 5 loss!) as the likes of PG Matthew Dellavedova (cramps) and two-guard Iman Shumpert (shoulder) are allowed extra time for R&R but - for now - Las Vegas oddsmakers have made the Warriors an 8.5-point betting favorite for this Game 5 tilt and that's the biggest price of any game thus far in this Finals set.
NBA FINALS - Game 5; Sunday at 8:10 p.m. ET, ABC
CLEVELAND at GOLDEN STATE - Series tied 2-2
Don't expect any changes in the Golden State game plan:
Rookie head coach Steve Kerr - who was looking to be in over his head for much of the first three games in this series - made the critical adjustment in Game 4 by "downsizing" his starting lineup with veteran Andre Iguodala (22 points and 8 rebounds plus some ultra-staunch defense on James) playing the hero's role after replacing the benched/ineffective Andrew Bogut and Kerr's made it pretty obvious that he and his team can live with getting slammed on the offensive glass (lost that O-board battle 16-6 the other night) providing G-State can pick up the pace of the game.
On the flip side, the Cavaliers absolutely must drain the shot clock - thus leaving for fewer overall game possessions by the Warriors - and make sure James handles the ball 80-to-90 percent of the time because the Game 4 possessions handled by folks other than "The King" went haywire pretty quickly (astutely pointed out by ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy).
The other aspect that's key for the Cavs here is they must draw some in-the-paint fouls on the likes of Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes and the aforementioned Iguodala - expect James to back down his defender and look to flip off a quickie pass to C Timofey Mosgov (28 points in 33 minutes in Game 4) as he's been tough to handle in the post. If the fouls pile up, Kerr will have no other choice but to switch his lineup configurations and getting away from his "small" group will aid/abet the Cavaliers' cause.
Let's be perfectly honest here:
The Warriors really have yet to receive a great start-to-finish great game from MVP Stephen Curry (22 points in Game 4) and odds are one of those 35-to-40-point games for Curry is on the way plus fellow backcourt mate Klay Thompson (just 9 points in Game 4) must get more involved here and so you do have to wonder if the offensively-challenged Cavaliers can survive one of those combo 55-to-60-point games for Curry/Thompson ... not likely.
If Cleveland's gonna go in and steal this Game 5 bash, then it's no secret that the three-point shooting must perk up big-time and that doesn't just mean some re-emergence from key reserve J.R. Smith who missed all eight of his trifecta attempts (while going 2-of-12 overall from the floor) in that Game 4 blowout loss as James shot a wobbly 1-of-4 from downtown while Dellavedova and Shumpert combined to go 3-of-14 from deep.
Two pieces of advice for the Cavs when it comes to three-point shooting: Take fewer of 'em here in Game 5 and make more than 14 percent of the said three-point shots!
Now, here's the Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals series in game chart form (and note that all home teams are in CAPS below):
|6-4||GOLDEN ST.||- 5.5||Cleveland||108-100 (OT)|
|6-7||Cleveland||+ 7.5||GOLDEN ST.||95-93 (OT)|
|6-9||CLEVELAND||+ 2||Golden St.||96-91|
|6-11||Golden St.||- 4||CLEVELAND||103-82|
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers continue to rake in major profits in this year's NBA Finals - hope you've been with us right from the very start of these pro hoop playoffs, folks, because we've absolutely cashed in for some big-time balloons! Go online right here or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 each/every day of these NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors (Game 5 is Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET on ABC-TV) and remember to cash in too with all the Major-League Baseball winners as Jim stays red-hot heading into summer!
THE BASEBALL REPORT
Have you noticed some of the shoddy road records out there in the bigs this year? Let's go to a couple of Major-League Baseball venues for a moment or two and check things out ...
The Baltimore Orioles are a dismal 9-17 on the road this year (a .346 winning rate) and if there's anything that could keep the Birds on the outside looking in at an AL East pennant chase/wild card hunt it's the inability to win away from Camden Yards that's keeping Buck Showalter's gang down. Remember that Baltimore went a sterling 46-35 away last year en route to winning the division and whether it's the mediocre pitching staff (eighth in the league in ERA at 3.81) or inability to get the big hit late, the road's been a bummer for the O's.
NEW YORK METS - No doubt that Citi Field has been ultra-kind to this National League East crew as Terry Collins' club entered the weekend sitting on top of the division despite the fact the Mets are 10-19 on the road. Note that includes getting swept four straight at Wrigley Field in May and getting swept in a three-game series in Pittsburgh late last month but quiet bats normally have been the ruination of this team on the road and not making things happen (where's the hit-and-run or straight steal calls, Collins?).
In other MLB News/Notes ...
This has not been a particularly cheerful year for the Cincinnati Reds and things did indeed go from bad-to-worse with the announcement that SS Zack Cozart will miss up to nine months after he undergoes surgery on his right knee this Monday. Cozart sustained torn ligaments and other tendon damage to his knee earlier this week and it will be interesting to see if Cincinnati swings a deal that will import a shortstop for the remainder of this year (and into next year) or will youngster Eugenio Suarez - who played last year for Detroit - hold down the position until further notice ...
And note that heading into this June weekend, the Philadelphia Phillies are the far-and-away "leaders" with a minus 88 in the runs differential category - so the question is whether under-siege GM Ruben Amaro finally pulls the trigger on a few deals in the coming days and so don't be surprised if closer RHP Jonathan Papelbon gets shipped to Toronto, OF Ben Revere gets dealt to Seattle and 1B Ryan Howard winds up on his native St. Louis. But stay tuned.
NOTE: There's much more NBA Finals coverage plus MLB News/Notes too in the next edition of Jim Sez plus catch all our upcoming NCAA Football and NFL News in the days and weeks ahead!
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