Game Two was a tale of two stars; a heroic night for LeBron and one of the worst Finals performances in NBA history by an MVP from Steph Curry. He hasn’t gotten killed for it by the media quite as much as probably deserved, but clearly if Steph Curry can’t get it together, the Warriors are in real trouble.
So does he regress to the mean tonight in Cleveland? Can LeBron continue to carry more of the burden than any star in NBA Finals history and lead the Cavaliers to an improbable title? Can the Cleveland bench continue to contribute enough to win? And will the Warriors make some much needed adjustments to get higher quality shots?
Let’s delve into tonight pivotal Game Three matchup and see who has the winning edge.
NBA Finals Game 3 Free Pick:
Golden State Warriors -1 at Cleveland Cavaliers
No Kyrie? No problem. But the one aspect no one has really talked much about is that the absence of Kyrie, while undoubtedly a blow to the Cavaliers offense and depth can be somewhat offset by the face that Delly is a MUCH better on-ball defender than Irving. There is more reason to Steph’s dreadful outing than just “off night” – a lot of the “off night” came from the physicality and tenacity of Matthew Delavedova. He hounded Steph into 0 for 8 shooting while guarding him in Game Two.
So are those numbers sustainable? I don’t think so. Simple regression to the mean over a nearly 100 game sample size this season tells me probably not. Also, Steph was just 1 of 9 on uncontested shots. It’s hard to see him not making four or five of those same looks if granted tonight. I also expect Steve Kerr to make some adjustments; take advantage of getting Delly in some on-ball screens and scramble situations, which he handles much less effectively. I think Steph bounces back.
I also think LeBron is superhuman. But can he be superhuman AGAIN after playing more than 90 minutes in the first two games? It seems like a tough ask, but I am past putting anything past ‘Bron. But I do worry his teammates can’t keep it up once Golden State makes a few adjustments and regresses back to the mean; both shooting and stylistically, of the team that ripped through a historic regular season. I think they adjust tonight and get a road win to regain control of this series. It is frankly improbable to think Cleveland can keep it up, looking at the numbers.
LeBron has been heroic, but still largely inefficient (11 of 35 shooting). The reason some of these inefficiencies have been masked are the terrible shooting by Golden State and the fact that Cleveland rebounded 40% of their own misses in Game Two. I just don’t either being sustainable as this series drags deeper.
Free Pick: Golden State Warriors -1