In the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Toronto Raptors – the East’s top regular-season team – should have won Game 1 of their series at home against the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, the Raptors collapsed in almost spectacular fashion and lost in overtime. That seemed to take all the wind out of the Toronto players’ sails and the team was shockingly swept by LeBron James and company.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
Now, we aren’t saying that the Cavaliers are going to be swept in the NBA Finals by the Golden State Warriors, but Cleveland should have won Game 1 as a huge road underdog yet lost in devastating (and for J.R. Smith, embarrassing) fashion. That seemed to totally deflate the Cavaliers in Game 2 as they never led in a 122-103 loss. Of course, this is the fourth straight NBA Finals meeting between the teams and that was the first game in which the Warriors led wire-to-wire.
Up 2-0, Golden State can all but end the series on Wednesday night in Cleveland as a 4.5-point favorite. No team in NBA history has rallied to win a series down 3-0. Frankly, it’s hard to imagine the Cavs beating the Warriors four of the next five games to win the title barring an injury to Steph Curry or Kevin Durant.
Speaking of Curry, he’s the leader in the clubhouse to win his first NBA Finals MVP Award to go with his two regular-season MVPs. Curry set a Finals record with nine made three-pointers on the way to 33 points in Game 2; by comparison, the Cavaliers made just nine three-pointers as a team in 27 attempts. Curry might as well have set the record as he holds many other three-point regular-season records and probably will go down as the greatest long-range shooter in league history.
In addition, the Warriors are destroying the Cavs on the fast break in this series. Golden State held a 37-16 advantage in transition offensive points in Game 2 and is up 70-33 overall. LeBron followed his epic 51-point Game 1 with 29 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds in Game 2, but Cleveland was outscored by 18 points with him on the court.
LeBron now has 1,327 points in his NBA Finals career, up to No. 2 all-time. Hall of Famer Jerry West leads with 1,679.
Only four teams in NBA annals have won a Finals series after trailing 2-0. One reason for Cavs backers to have some hope was that Cleveland was the last to do it in 2016. In addition, the Warriors are just 4-4 on the road in the past three Finals against the Cavs. Cleveland lost Game 1 of its first-round series at home to Indiana but hasn’t dropped a game there since.