The Warriors played a dreadfully sloppy first half, finishing the game with twenty turnovers to the Cavs just nine. The Cavaliers outscored the warriors in the paint by a whopping 60-40 margin, and LeBron James recorded his record-tying eighth career NBA Finals triple-double with 29 points, 11 boards and 14 assists. Kevin Love was nice as well, tossing in 27 points. Easy win Cavs, right??
Nope. 132-113 blowout, Warriors up 2-0 and leaving the Cavaliers absolutely befuddled. Sure, the series shifts scenes tomorrow night, moving to The Q in Cleveland and yes, the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead last year, but if that is all you are clinging to for optimism that this series is about to “get good” I am afraid you will be disappointed.
I went into this series expecting an epic matchup. I thought the Warriors would win, but I thought Cleveland would compete. I did not think they would be get smoked off the floor in two straight games – especially in Game Two where by many statistical metrics, they were the BETTER team. But at the end of the day, the team that makes more shots generally wins. No one in the history of the NBA makes them more efficiently and with a higher effective field goal percentage than the Warriors. The Cavs were 8 of 29 in Game Two and just couldn’t make up enough points to stay in the basketball game, despite the incredibly loose and sloppy play from Golden State.
There’s been a lot of talk from the Cavs about NOT slowing the pace down in Game Three. That would likely be a mistake. Just mathematically, adding possessions to the game against the most efficient per-possession team in the history of the NBA is a bad move.
Is it just posturing? Surely the Cavs know they have to muck it up a bit in Game Three, right? Right??
Today’s NBA Pick:
NBA Finals – Game Three (Warriors lead 2-0)
Golden State Warriors -3 at Cleveland Cavaliers
I still have the lingering fear many of you possess as well; LeBron ain’t getting swept. The Cavs are too good to lose two in a row at home and four in a row overall. The King just CAN’T let it happen…
Well, if it makes you feel any better, he isn’t “letting” anything happen. LeBron has actually been really, really GOOD (aside from some turnovers in Game One) and is putting up HUGE stats. He is playing admirable defense and leaving it ALL on the floor. Golden State is just ridiculously, historically, un-guardably GOOD. If LeBron is the clear #1 player in the world, than the last two games, on BOTH ends of the floor, are a reminder that Kevin Durant is more like a ‘1a’ and heir apparent (he is considerably younger than LeBron) than a distant number two. The world is getting a nice re-introduction to the most unguardable scorer in the NBA, and also a glimpse of some tremendous defensive prowess from the Slim Reaper as well. KD has been AMAZING and the best player in the NBA Finals to this point.
And if KD can balance out LeBron, game, set, match Warriors. Steph is back to his 2015-2016 shot-making MVP self, and Draymond and Klay haven’t even played as well as they can yet.
I want this series to balance out. I want LeBron to put the Cavs on their back and give us the epic Finals we waited 12 months to see. I just don’t think it is going to happen any more. Golden State had injuries and suspensions last time these two met in the Finals. They also had Harrison Barnes in the Kevin Durant role. Oh what a difference a year makes.
Heading into tonight, Golden State has won 30 of their last 31 games. From an ATS standpoint, they have both won (obviously) and covered five road games in a row. Cleveland is 2-6 ATS in their last eight home contests.
Yes, Cleveland’s backs are against the wall, but with this Warriors team thundering down a previously-unthinkable 16-0 postseason, I am just not sure there is anything they can do to stop the inevitable.
Today’s NBA Pick: GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS -3