By Charles Jay
The Cleveland Cavaliers are down two games to nothing in their NBA Finals series against the Golden State Warriors, so they have to do something. LeBron James and Kevin Love have been doing their part, but coach Tyrone Lue could be doing some shuffling in the rotation.
Lue says that Rodney Hood, who has been kind of a forgotten man since he was acquired from the Utah Jazz, will get playing time in this one, and if he isn’t too rusty, he might be able to present some matchup problems for the Warriors, who may or may not be welcoming Andre Iguodala back to the lineup. The action gets underway at 9:05 PM ET at the Quicken Loans Arena, and if you are a BetAnySports customer, you can place wagers after the game tips off, through the magic of Live Betting Ultra.
Hood was averaging almost 17 points a game with the Jazz, but after he was acquired, there didn’t seem to be any role for him to play. Truth be told, it is difficult for any player to exist alongside LeBron, who dominates the offense so much. And Hood would have to be a little more accurate than he was the last time he faced Golden State in the playoffs, as he shot just one for 15 from beyond the arc for Utah.
Cleveland, as a team, has to shoot much better that they have from long-range. There only 27% in Game 1, and 33% in Game 2, and if they don’t have some kind of outside shooting threat to distract defense is away from Team James, as is going to end quickly.
In the NBA Finals odds posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, Golden State is laying points on the road:
Golden State Warriors -4.5
Cleveland Cavaliers +4.5
Over 216.5 points -110
Under 216.5 points -110
It is also tough to win games when you allow the opponent to shoot 51% and 57%, and that is exactly what the Cavaliers have done. In the first game, Cleveland actually should have wound up on the winning end, but there were mistakes made by both the officials and JR Smith, who had the opportunity to set his team up for a winning basket with just seconds to go but could not remember the score and dribbled out. In the overtime session, the Cavs were probably still thinking about that mistake, along with the “no-charge” call that had been reversed after Kevin Durant had plowed into James with 36 seconds left.
Iguodala practiced on Tuesday, and Golden State coach Steve Kerr indicated that he is questionable for Game 3. With or without him, the Warriors have taken control. Steph Curry is setting himself up to be the MVP of this series and he set an NBA Finals record with nine triples on Sunday. There was a rarity in this game, as the Warriors were out-scored in the third quarter, but Cleveland showed very little life in the final stanza and it got pretty easy for them from there.
Once again, the Cavs were able to pull down a lot of offensive rebounds in Game 2, and they now have 35 for the series. That should afford them second chances and a better shot to win, and indeed that helped them hang in there in the opener. So did LeBron’s 51 points. But the inside defense of the Cavaliers has to be better against JaVale McGee and Shawn Livingston, who have attacked the basket well enough to shoot a combined 17-of-18 from the field.
The presence of Hood, even if the 6-8 wing shoots well, isn’t going to do much to improve Cleveland where they need it.
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