The Cavs are back in Oracle Arena after a very controversial game one loss. That game will down in history and may even be what people remember about the 2018 Finals, regardless of who the victor is.
For many Cavs fans, it will be the game that LeBron James took a charge, that was called on the floor, from Kevin Durant while standing a very reasonable distant from the cylinder. It will be the game the refs decided that he might have been in the cylinder; but even after they saw he wasn’t in the restricted area in a replay, they still decided to rule the call a blocking foul because it looked like one and they could. It was a call reversal the league rarely sees. And, although it was within the rules of the game, it was completely ridiculous.
For other fans, this will be the J.R. Smith game. After securing a last second offensive rebound with the game tied and time left on the clock to call a timeout, Smith dribbled out the clock and said he thought the Cavs were up . Then he said he maybe didn’t know the score with his body language. Then Ty Lue said that J.R. didn’t know the score during the post-game presser. J.R. claimed he did know the score after the game. And, yesterday, Smith acknowledged he didn’t know the score. As of now, he may know the score. He may not. Who knows what’s going on in Swish’s head.
Some of the most crazed fans will think of this as the George Hill game. Hill missed a late free throw that would have put the Cavs ahead to avoid overtime and force a very tough Warrior’s final shot attempt.
For me, this game is going to be the game that pushed LeBron James and the rest of the Cavs enough to win a title. The Cavs are underdogs. People have been saying that all year. True or not, the Cavs were clearly sick of that talk in game 1 and responded properly.
Tonight, the Wine & Gold are responding to getting worked by the system. I’m not going to say if feeling that way is right or wrong. And, nobody will ever be able to say if the Cavs got worked for sure. For people that want Cleveland to win, this is actually a great situation.
The Cavs are feeling a certain way. In their eyes, they were jobbed. Just listen to their statements from after they game. You can’t change a person’s feelings. If you’ve ever been mad, you know that. When you’re told to be happy, it’s basically a switch to send you into supernova anger mode.
The Cavs are going to channel this feeling tonight, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
Let’s look at some things to watch:
- Fouls. The Cavs need to commit many of them. The refs are going to call this game tight, and the Warriors have a guy that’s easily excitable. Cleveland needs to poke the bear. Or, as followers of the blog know him as, the donkey, Draymond Green. Fouling more would also help Cleveland stop fast breaks. The Warriors had 28 fast break points in game one. A lot of those breaks came from guys not getting back down the court because the floor was off-balance. Guys must foul if they think a fast break is going to happen. The Warriors will get easy buckets, and Cleveland should eliminate as many of them as possible. Killing the fast break is the easiest way. Rotations will be blown in half-court defense because the Warriors are just that good, and that’s something Tyronn Lue must live with.
- Cleveland needs to keep foisting 3s. They went just 10-37 in game one, and that was a fluke. The Cavs have great 3-point shooters. They will have a game where they hit 17 3s.
- LeBron is gonna LeBron. He had 51 points on Thursday. A lot of media folks say the Cavs blew his 51 points by losing. Guess what, LeBron can score that much again, if he wants. Anything is possible right now for him. He is currently tied with Jerry West for the most 40 point games in a playoff run, eight. The Warriors don’t have anyone who can hassle the King, and it’s going to be a treat to see what he decides to do tonight. If he decides to score 60, I wouldn’t be surprised.
I’m picking the Cavs to win 113-97.