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Dan Favale | Mon 12/06/2017 - 08:38 EDT

Do Cavaliers Have a Prayer in Game 5?

Do Cavaliers Have a Prayer in Game 5?
After pummeling the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 to stave off elimination, the Cleveland Cavaliers look to keep the crazy train rolling in Game 5. TopBet's lines, however, have them as an 8.5-point underdog. Do they have the juice to overcome the odds again?

Will the Cavs go down fighting?

All odds brought to you by Topbet

Golden State Warriors (-8.5) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (+8.5)

Maybe we have ourselves an NBA Finals after all.

Or maybe not.

It's tough to tell. Most people thought Game 4 would be the end of the NBA Finals—that the Golden State Warriors would sweep the Cleveland Cavaliers, finish the postseason 16-0 and that would be that. But the Cavaliers had other plans. The dropped 49 points—yes 49—in the first quarter, and never looked back. The Warriors failed to hold a lead at any time during the game, and though you could feel Quickens Loan Arena start to feel uneasy whenever they came within 12 or 13 points, the Cavaliers ensured the game was never really in danger.

Can they win again?

Probably not. 

Cleveland made 24 threes and limited Golden State to just nine transition points in Game 4. As Draymond Green himself said afterward, it's unlikely they match that performance in Game 5, on the Warriors' turf.

Let's say they do, though. What then? They were still outscored in the paint and left 10 points on the table at the free-throw line. More important than everything, the Warriors missed a ton of shots they normally make. Twenty-four of their 39 three-point looks came when a defender was four or more feet away from them, according to NBA.com. They made those four of those shots.

oddsThere's no way for the Cavaliers to expect the Warriors to bury an abysmal 16.7 percent of their quality long-range looks. Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson specifically combined to go 9-of-34 from long distance (26.5 percent). That isn't going to happen again.

LeBron James has said it before: You need to play "A-plus-plus" basketball to beat these Warriors. The Cavaliers did that in Game 4, but it's impossible to believe they have a similar outing in them for Monday night.

All that being said, they finally found a recipe for success—or to at least keep things close.

Shooting 45 three-pointers in Game 4 was the smartest decision they've made all series. As was them electing to foul the Warriors—namely Stephen Curry—as soon as they got out in transition. 

Giving up fouls on the break, even when you're in the penalty, safeguards you against a barrage of pull-up three-pointers the Warriors tend to feast off. And jacking that many threes, meanwhile, makes it so you don't have to worry as much about the talent gap. The Cavaliers won't always shoot them at a 53.3 percent clip, but they don't have to. Taking shots that are worth more points—three is more than two, remember—is an inherent way of erasing a variance that exists between Cleveland and Golden State in points per possession.

Following that same blueprint may not be enough, and the Cavaliers' role players have yet to turn in a stellar performance at Oracle Arena. Still, this game feels like it could be close, because of what Cleveland may have found in itself during Game 4.

The Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers (+8.5)

My Team's Next MatchCleveland Cavaliers

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