We’re two games into the NBA Finals and we’re still waiting for the Cleveland Cavaliers to show up like…
After suffering a disappointing 15-point loss to the Golden State Warriors in Game 1, Cleveland followed that up with a pitiful showing in Game 2 en route to a 110-77 loss. Cleveland was outscored 58-33 in the second half and pretty much checked out midway through the third quarter (Full disclosure: I was watching Game Of Thrones during the third quarter, so I write that based off of hearsay). But where’s the fight? Where’s the fire? Where’s the “we’re not gonna take it anymore” reaction? It’s obvious the Warriors are the better team, but none of us expected the Cavs to be completely outclassed like this. Hell, a certain SiriusXM Sports editor even picked them to win the series.
Cleveland shot 35.4 percent from the field and committed 17 turnovers. LeBron James had 19 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and seven turnovers and Kyrie Irving was held to 10 points. The Cavaliers’ second-leading scorer was Richard Jefferson with 12 points. Richard Jefferson?!
The Cavs were without the services of Kevin Love in the second half as he exited the game due to a concussion after taking a blow to the head in the second quarter. Still, that doesn’t understate the complete lack of desire they displayed. It was almost disgraceful that in the NBA Finals, the grandest stage of them all, they played like they didn’t belong on the same court as the Warriors. When Andrew Bogut blocked four shots in the first half, the Cavs abandoned drives to the basket. When the deficit started growing, the turnovers mounted. When the Golden State avalanche got going, they seemingly forgot about ball-movement and resorted to hero-ball.
OK, let me stop riding the Cavs for a bit and give some well-deserved credit to the ‘Dubs. Golden State shot an incredibly efficient 54.3 percent from the field, including 45.5 percent from beyond the arc. Draymond Green led the way with 28 points, seven rebounds and five assists and brought fantastic energy throughout the game. The Splash Brothers still haven’t returned to form but were more than serviceable as Stephen Curry had 18 points and nine rebounds and Klay Thompson had 17 points and five assists, both of them knocking down four treys apiece. The Warriors played a swarming defense and forced the Cavs to play out of character.
All that said, what’s the solution for Cleveland? How do they close the gap? Is J.R. Smith, who has shot three-for-nine over two games, the savior? Is Channing Frye, who can be expected to see a minutes-bump if Love misses time, gonna turn everything around? Those seem like some pretty far-fetched expectations. What we can expect, at the very least, is a better showing in Game 3. They’ll have the energy of the home-crowd behind them, they’ll be desperate to prove the first two games were anomalies, they’ll do everything possible to erase the memories of the molly-whoppings at Oracle Arena. Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll win.
The series is far from over, but the Warriors are the deeper team with more weapons. When two factions go to war, it’s usually the one with more firepower that wins. Golden State has the luxury of a roster full of players who can contribute across the board, and the scary thing is, we’ve yet to see them at their absolute best in this series so far. When we do, it’ll spell Cleveland’s doom and we’ll likely see more of this from the Cavs:
Tags:cleveland cavaliersdraymond greengolden state warriorskevin loveklay thompsonkyrie irvinglebron jamesnbanba finalsstephen curry
Music, Sports, News and more
All in one place on the SiriusXM app