Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Cleveland Cavaliers G/F J.R. Smith
- The Cavs dropped Game 1, 124-114, despite 51 points, eight rebounds and eight assists from LeBron James.
- J.R. Smith rebounded a missed free throw in the final seconds of regulation but pulled it out instead of shooting, ensuring overtime.
- Game 2 opened right around the same number as Game 1: The Warriors are favored by 12.5, and the total is 216.
Almost no one gave the Cleveland Cavaliers a chance in this series. Even our own Chad Millman, on the debut of our ESPN+ show, “I’ll Take That Bet,” said he was taking the Warriors -1000 to win the series because there was no chance the Cavs win. That’s almost assuredly true now — the Warriors are all the way up to -1900 after Game 1 — but we were just a missed George Hill free throw and a boneheaded J.R. Smith play away from the Cavs being up 1-0 and having home-court advantage.
In case you didn’t see that play, here you go:
After the game, head coach Ty Lue mused that Smith thought Cleveland was up one and was trying to run out the clock. Smith, on the other hand, said he was trying to find a shooter. We’ll never know, but the result was craziness. It wasn’t quite Chris Webber-in-the-NCAA-Championship bad, but that play will certainly be remembered for a long time, especially by bettors who had the under.
Anyway, Game 2. What’s different? Are the Cavs shorter dogs after bettors saw them compete and LeBron go superhuman? The market isn’t betting on that, or perhaps it’s betting on the Game 1 loss taking its toll on LeBron and the Cavs: Despite all the excitement Thursday night, the line opened right around where it closed for Game 1, at Warriors -12.5. It’s already been bet down to -12 in some places at the time of writing (12:30 a.m. ET), and the opening total of 216 is a tick lower than the Game 1 total of 218.