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Sunday NBA Journal, June 19
by Larry Ness - 06/19/2016
Playoff Journal (June 19)
Game 6 of the NBA Finals had very little drama as the Warriors went 0 of 6 from the floor with two turnovers in their first eight possessions. It was 31-11 Cleveland at the end of the first quarter and while Golden St did cut the lead to nine points entering the fourth quarter, Cleveland won handily, 115-101. LBJ matched his 41-point effort from Game 5, adding eight rebounds and 11 assists to become just the fifth player in Finals history to post back-to-back 40-point games. He joined Shaq, MJ, Rick Barry and Jerry West, who did it twice. Irving added 23 points plus Thompson delivered a double-double with 15 & 16 (note: he’s got 44 rebounds and 35 points in Cleveland’s three wins).
The Cavs shot 51.9 percent as a team, following shooting 54.3 percent in Game 5. that’s after connecting on only 43.6 percent through the first four games of the series. Golden St made just 40.2 percent from the floor, including 15 of 39 on threes, which followed the team going 3 of 21 on threes in the second half of Game 5. Curry had a quiet’ 30, Thompson a ‘quiet’ 25 and Green just 8-10-6. Barnes has been brutal, following a 2 of 14 effort in Game 5 by going 0 of 8 (0 of 5 on threes) in 16 minutes in Game 6. With Iquodala starting for a second straight game, the Golden St bench, which scored just FIVE points (on 5 of 20 shooting) in Game 5, contributed 33 points. However, Barbosa had 14 of those points.
Game 7 is tonight at 9:00 ET on ABC. Checking in on the postseason numbers to-date, home teams are 58-27 SU (.682) and 52-33 ATS (61.2%). Fifty-one of the 85 games have stayed under (60.0%) and those following the Zig-Zag theory are 36-34 but minus-1.4 net games, guaranteeing it will be a losing proposition for the 2016 postseason. The Warriors are favored by five points in what will be the 19th Game 7 in NBA Finals history. It should come as no surprise that home teams are 15-3 (.833) in the previous 18. That’s in keeping with the fact that home teams are 101-24 (.808) all-time in Game 7s (4-0 SU and ATS in the 2016 postseason). According to Big Al’s database, home teams are 52-13 SU and 39-24-2 ATS (61.9%) in Game 7s, dating to 1990.
The Cavs became the 32nd team in Finals history to fall behind 0-2 and are well aware that just THREE of the previous 31 teams were able to come back to win the series. All three of those teams had tied the series at two-all before winning but the Cavs fell behind 3-1 in this year’s Finals and face the fact that no team has recovered from a 3-1 deficit in the Finals to eventually win (note: only 10 of 233 teams have won a seven-game series after falling behind 3-1, which is 4.3 percent!). However, here the Cavs are in a Game 7, just the THIRD team in Finals history to fall behind 3-1 and force a Game 7. However, the two previous teams to do so, the 1951 NY Knicks and the 1966 LA Lakers, both lost their respective Game 7s on the road.
This series is tied at three-all and incredibly, each team has scored exactly 610 points after six games. However, not a SINGLE game has been decided by less that double digits, as the Warriors have won by 15, 33 and 11 points, while the Cavs have won by 30, 15 and 14 points. That’s an average margin of victory by the winning team of 19.7 PPG! As all know, the Warriors set a single-season record with 73 wins and enter this game having lost back-to-back games for just the second time this year (Warriors are 14-2 and 11-5 ATS following a loss this year), both coming this postseason. The Warriors lost Games 3 and 4 in OKC but then won THREE straight to advance to the Finals, with a chance the repeat as NBA champs.
That sets the stage, as legacies are on the line in this one. My final journal will be available Tuesday, with a recap of this historic season.