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2017 NBA Finals -- Eight-point underdogs in Game 5, Cavs continue uphill climb


PhilBoxing.com




OAKLAND, California. After avoiding a humiliating sweep with an impressive 136-117 Game 4 win at the Quicken Loans Arena two days ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers continue to face long odds in defending their NBA title against the powerhouse Golden State Warriors.

​According to business reporter Darren Rovell of ESPN, the Warriors are 8-point favorites to win tomorrow's Game 5 at the Oracle Arena, where Golden State could capture their second championship in three years.

​But the Cavaliers remain unfazed. Last season, they established a Finals record as the first team to ever come back from a 3-1 deficit and shock the Warriors in seven games. After Game 4's emotional triumph, one filled with animosity and technical fouls, the Cavs have thrust themselves in a familiar spot in which they need three more victories for all the marbles.

Obviously, coming back from an 0-3 hole is more difficult than overhauling a 3-1 disadvantage. And here's why.

The Warriors are unbeaten at the "Roaracle" in these playoffs, an immaculate 8-0. Golden State handily won Games 1 and 2 of the Finals, beating the Cavaliers by a combined 41 points.

​With blood in the water and the potential of winning the Larry O'Brien trophy in front of their loyal and boisterous fans, expect the Warriors' Big 4 of Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson to light up their home floor. Hounded by foul trouble, Green was a non-factor in Game 4, so were Curry and Thompson who missed a combined 16 shots to score only 27 points between them. It's hard to image those three All-Stars producing a dud in two straight Finals games.

Still, the Cavaliers are a tough group to vanquish, what with LeBron James averaging a triple-double and Kyrie erupting for 40 in Game 4. Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith, who sank five triples on Friday night, seem to have re-discovered their confidence heading into Game 5, giving Cleveland more weapons to combat a juggernaut such as Golden State.

​Bench play is also key for Cleveland, whose reserves are playing inconsistently in these Finals.

​The tension builds, which ​makes Game 5 ​must-see TV​.



Click here to view a list of other articles written by Mehmet Bugra Balaban.


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