Cavs are home ‘dogs vs. Warriors in tonight’s Game 3

If Cleveland is going to get back in the NBA Finals, veteran guard J.R. Smith is going to have to make an appearance after scoring only three combined points in Games 1 and 2.

Published on Wednesday, 6/7/17, at 9:22 a.m. Eastern.

Golden St. dealt out a pair of beatdowns to Cleveland at Oracle Arena to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the 2017 NBA Finals. The series now moves to Quicken Loans Arena tonight for Game 3 on ABC at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

As of early this morning, most betting shops had the Warriors favored by 3.5 points with the total at 226.5. The Cavaliers were available on the money line for a +145 return (risk $100 to win $145). For first-half wagers, the line on the side was a pick ’em with a total of 115.5 points.

The updated series price at is Golden St. -1500. This leaves the Cavs at 9/1 odds to rally and repeat as NBA champs.

Kevin Durant is now the -400 ‘chalk’ to win Finals MVP honors at the offshore shop. The next-shortest odds belong to Steph Curry (+250), LeBron James (+850), Draymond Green (40/1), Klay Thompson (60/1), Kyrie Irving (75/1) and Kevin Love (150/1).

Durant was sensational in the series opener when he led Golden St. to a 113-91 win as a 7.5-point home favorite. Thanks to just 39 combined points in the fourth quarter, the 204 combined points dipped way ‘under’ the 225-point total.

Durant produced 38 points, nine rebounds and eight assists without a turnover. Curry added 28 points, six rebounds, three steals and 10 assists compared to just a pair of turnovers. Green finished with nine points and 11 boards. In the losing effort, James tallied 28 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists, but he coughed up eight turnovers.

In Sunday’s Game 2 in Oakland, the Warriors captured a 132-113 victory as nine-point home ‘chalk.’ The 245 combined points sailed ‘over’ the 222-point tally.

Durant was the catalyst again, stuffing the box score with 33 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, five blocked shots and three steals. Curry had a triple-double with 32 points, 11 assists and 10 boards, but we should note that he committed eight turnovers. James also had a triple-double with 29 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds. Love chipped in 27 points and seven boards.

Remember, Cleveland was also down 2-0 and 3-1 in last year’s series. If anything is going to change for the Cavs, they’ve got to get more physical at the defensive end. Golden St. had a dunk contest in Game 1 without any resistance whatsoever from Cleveland’s interior defense.

For the love of Charles Oakley, Anthony Mason, Kurt Rambis and Kevin McHale, will SOMEBODY on the Cavs put a Golden St. player on his ass when he comes to the rim?! I’ve never seen an NBA Finals played so softly. Seriously, has a Cleveland player given a hard foul yet? The defensive intensity and physicality has been deplorable.

Also, J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver have got to provide an offensive spark. Golden St. gave Korver a bagel in the series opener and dealt Smith cream-cheese treatment in Game 2. The duo has combined for 11 total points so far in the series. That’s unacceptable. The Cavs need both of those players scoring in double figures and knocking down 3-balls.

Golden St. has covered the spread in 11 consecutive road assignments. The ‘over’ has hit at a 7-1 clip in the Warriors’ last eight road contests.

Steve Kerr returned to the sidelines from his back issues for Game 2 and plans to remain on the bench for the rest of the series.

For more NBA Finals convo between myself and’s Kevin Rogers, check out this week’s Games Galore podcast.

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