For the second straight game, Stephen Curry struggled mightily to find this shot and for the second straight game, the Golden State Warriors suffered a loss. There have been two massive story-lines in these 2015 NBA Finals. One has obviously been the lights out shooting Curry suddenly running extremely cold. The other has been LeBron James willing his team to win with at least 30 points and six assists in all three games.

Heading into game four, something has to break if the Warriors are going to keep this a series. Going down 3-1 isn’t an option, even with two more of the remaining games scheduled at Oracle Arena. The Warriors either need to contain James’ impact in one regard or they at least need to have Curry rise to his level and keep the game tight. That just hasn’t happened to this point, and it’s clear the Golden State offense (and seemingly the entire team’s morale) lives and dies with how Curry is playing.

Let’s take a close look at this matchup and see which team is the safer pick in all regards tonight:

Golden State Warriors (1) @ Cleveland Cavaliers (2) on ABC at 9:00 pm ET

The harsh reality is this: LeBron James has convinced a battered and stripped down Cavs team that they can be NBA champions. I was afraid of this heading into the Finals, when I picked the Cavs to win the series, 4-2. Once Kyrie Irving went down, I felt the Warriors would take advantage and possibly kill my initial pick. Now I’m convinced this is Cleveland’s title to lose again. There is still wiggle room left for the Warriors to storm out of the gates tonight, find their shooting touch and make this one of the better NBA Finals series we’ve ever seen.

For the casual NBA fans or a Warriors fan, that’s the logic you have to roll with. The Warriors get hot and actually play the elite defense they are supposed to be able to play – rather than run cold and get shut down by a band of misfits that James has inspired. Unfortunately, he has inspired them and they do believe this is their title to lose. In game four, they’re at home with all of the momentum and the Warriors haven’t given us much reason to believe anything will suddenly change. Curry’s too-little, too-late flurry to end game three? That was nice, but I chalk that up more to Cleveland’s inexperience and relief after being up so much to close that game. That’s about the Cavaliers being young and stupid, not Curry “figuring their defense out” and finding his groove. It could be a mix, but even if it is, I’m not sold it’s enough.

I’ve been pulling for the Warriors all year. They haven’t won a title in 40 years and while the Cavs deserve to win their first ever, we all know if they don’t win this year, they’ll surely win next year with a healthy Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. But as one banner in Cleveland said “there’s always this year”, I tend to think the Cavs aren’t taking this awesome chance at a championship lightly. If Golden State pulls game four out of their magic hat, I think the series shifts in their favor. If they can’t finally solve the Cavs’ defense and keep James from destroying them, though, this series is in the bag.

Golden State is a mild favorite to bounce back (-2.5), but I just am not seeing it. They did this before in round two against the Memphis Grizzlies and they won the next three games to close the series, but the Grizz didn’t have LeBron James or the offense Cleveland can bring to the table when they’re clicking. At this point it’s not about what makes sense. Cleveland winning before the series started didn’t really make sense, but as I predicted, they’re in position to win the Finals and I can’t see anything stopping them now. Because of that, I like Cleveland ATS and straight up tonight. Despite there being strong defense in this series, I do like the Total (193) enough to chase if you’re feeling lucky.

Pick: Cavs 101, Warriors 98

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