The Golden State Warriors can put themselves in the record books as perhaps the greatest team of all-time if they finish off the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night. It would be the Warriors’ second straight title and come on the heels of their record 73 regular-season wins. However, the Warriors will play Game 5 without in some ways their most important player in versatile forward Draymond Green, the key of the team’s vaunted “Death Lineup.” The Warriors were originally 6.5-point favorites for this game, but that line is now 5.5 points on the sports betting odds.
How To Bet Cavaliers at Warriors Game 5 NBA Finals Odds & TV Info
When: Monday, 9 PM ET
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland
NBA Odds: Warriors at 5.5
Cavaliers at Warriors Historic Betting Trends
Green was suspended by the NBA for Game 5 on Sunday following an incident with LeBron James in the Warriors’ 108-97 victory in Cleveland on Saturday night. The play in question came with less than three minutes left in fourth quarter when Green and LeBron got tangled. James stepped over Green after the Warriors forward fell to the court, and Green swung his arm and appeared to make contact with James’ groin area. James immediately turned around, and the two players went chest-to-chest as play continued. Green wasn’t given a flagrant foul by the referees but was by the NBA after it looked at film. The NBA called Green’s action a “retaliatory swipe of his hand to the groin” of James. The flagrant 1 gave Green his fourth flagrant foul point of the playoffs, which carries an automatic suspension. Green was nearly suspended after kicking Thunder center Steven Adams in the groin in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.
Green isn’t even allowed in the building for Game 5 or risk a heavy fine (around $140,000). However, if the Warriors are going to clinch the series, you can bet he will be there — and pay the fine. If Golden State loses, Green would be back for Game 6 back in Ohio on Thursday. Keep this in mind: should Green then commit a flagrant foul in a Game 6, he would miss Game 7.
Green has missed only one game this season, a 112-110 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Jan. 13. Green has defended several different players throughout the first four games of the NBA Finals, though no one more than 20 plays. His most frequent matchup has been against LeBron, whom he has contained. James is just 5-for-14 when guarded by Green.
Green’s impact on the team through the Warriors 3-1 start has been dominant as Golden State is plus-53 in 81 minutes this series with Green at center and minus-24 in 111 minutes with every other lineup they’ve played. Green is averaging 14 points, 9.3 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.3 blocks in the series.
It’s likely that Warriors coach Steve Kerr starts Andre Iguodala now, moving Harrison Barnes to power forward. Iguodala could win NBA Finals MVP for a second year in a row — he’s going another great defensive job on James. Much depends on how the Cavaliers choose to prey on his absence: by going big with the likes of Kevin Love or even Timofey Mozgov, or by trying to lure the Warriors into a diminished smaller lineup by extending the minutes of Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye.
The Cavaliers have five road wins in the 2016 playoffs, which is tied for the franchise’s 2nd -most road victories in a single postseason (seven road wins in 2015 and five road wins in 2007). Prior to the 2016 NBA Finals, the Cavs have recorded at least one road win in every series since 2010 (nine consecutive playoff series). Of course they haven’t won a road game in this series yet.
Expert Betting Prediction
Tough to see the Warriors losing at home, which they did only twice in the regular season and once in these playoffs. I expect big games from Steph Curry and Klay Thompson to make up for Green’s absence. In Game 4, Golden State connected on 17 three-pointers (17-of-36 3FG), an NBA record for the most threes made in a Finals game. Wouldn’t shock me if they make more than that Monday. But I’m taking the points.