Warriors Back In Drivers Seat
WARRIORS BACK ON TRACK, AND IN DRIVER'S SEAT AS SERIES RETURNS TO OAKLAND SUNDAY
This racecourse has such dramatic turns! The Golden State Warriors had gone from a -700 series favorite to a virtual pick-em in very short order three games into their 2015 NBA Finals series against the Cleveland Cavaliers. A slow start Thursday night brought the very real possibility of a series loss into play.
A couple of hours later, Golden State was finishing off a 103-82 rout in Cleveland...and the betting markets were re-installing them as heavy favorites to lift the trophy next week. Some stores have them higher than -400, which means better than 80% to seal the deal.
Was that the last dramatic turn? Or, does Cleveland have another surprise in store Sunday for Game Five that would create a lot of excitement for Tuesday's Game Six? Before discussing that, let's quickly review the Game Four numbers...
GAME FOUR STATS
Golden State 103, Cleveland 82
Shooting Pct: Golden State 47%, Cleveland 33%
Three-Pointers: Golden State 12/30, Cleveland 4/27
Free Throws: Golden State 19/27, Cleveland 20/28
Rebounds: Golden State 44, Cleveland 49
Turnovers: Golden State 7, Cleveland 9
Vegas Line: Golden State by 4.5, total of 195
The most important category was obviously three-pointers. Golden State was +24 points in that category alone, in a game they won by 21 points. It was their best long range performance of the series...
Game One: 10 of 27 on treys for 37%
Game Two: 8 of 35 on treys for 23% (home loss)
Game Three: 12 of 34 on treys for 35%
Game Four: 12 of 30 on treys for 40% (road win)
The Warriors are almost impossible to beat when they hit 40% of their treys because that's the same as hitting 60% on two-pointers. Opponents just can't overcome it. Golden State turns mortal around 35% when playing other great teams, and becomes really beatable at anything below that. Clearly Cleveland will have to do a better job of denying open looks.
For their part, the Cavaliers 4 of 27 was a DISASTER! That's after 9 of 31, 9 of 27, and 9 of 21 in the prior games. The 9-9-9-4 sequence shows you that the Cavs HAVE to make at least 8 treys to have a real shot at competing in this matchup.
Saturday's Game Five Line: Golden State by 8.5, total of 195
We head back to California. Vegas was flooded with Golden State money on Tuesday, as an opening line of Warriors -2.5 soared all the way up to -4.5 before tipoff. The Wise Guys really came in late, particularly when Steve Kerr announced a lineup change. It will be interesting to see what the market does between now and tipoff. A move from -4.5 to -8.5 really isn't that much with a site switch. That suggests "home court advantage" is only two points (two at each site, creating a four-point differential). Should Golden State actually be more like -10 here? Or, was that just one tired outing from Cleveland that won't matter after they get two days of rest for Sunday's tip?
JIM HURLEY is working very closely with his full team of betting experts to answer those questions. His scouts and sources will let him know the mindset of each team, as well as the relative health of the most overworked players. His statheads are crunching every number from championships of the past 20 years to get a sense of how things skew after a 2-2 tie through four games. And, of course, his Wise Guy connections are at his beck and call for help finding the best value. Will that be on an Under? Golden State's about 90% Unders so far in the playoffs!
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This report will stay up all weekend here at the website. The NOTEBOOK returns on Monday with an interesting baseball series preview. Great mix of basketball and baseball through the week...
Monday: MLB Interleague Series Preview...LA Dodgers at Texas Rangers
Tuesday: NBA Game Six Championship Preview
Wednesday: MLB Big Game Preview...either Tampa Bay at Washington, St. Louis at Minnesota or San Francisco at Seattle
Thursday: Either NBA Game Seven Championship Preview (for a Friday finale if it goes the distance) or MLB Notes.
Just when you think you have the 2015 NBA Finals figured out...some new angle makes itself known. JIM HURLEY has always been ahead of the game. That's why he's ruled the industry for more than 25 years! When championships are on the line, you need WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!
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