After two disheartening losses to the Warriors, I’m almost left speechless. That didn’t stop me from hopping into the podcast booth with Nate Smith though to try and make sense of what’s happening right now.
The Warriors picked up another win tonight. Kevin Durant grabbed a super efficient 26 points on 10-14 shooting while Stephen Curry hit a Finals record nine 3s to put up 33. Throughout the night, the Cavs played winning stretches of basketball where they were forcing misses and getting great looks of their own where the ball rocketed out of LeBron James’ hands at impossible angles from the paint to open guys. Against almost any other team in the league, their level of play would have netted them a win, but the Warriors are proving to be a very different beast.
The Warriors took advantage of any miscommunications. They took advantage of chances to run when a single Cav hung back. They took advantage of the referees not calling fouls on some very physical play. They took advantage of LeBron James perhaps not having enough energy to bring it 100% of the time on both ends of the floor. And, their role players took advantage of having low pressure shots. Sean Livingston and JaVale McGee combined to go 11-11 for 22 points.
LeBron James did his best getting 29 points and 13 assists, while Kevin Love put up 22 points and 10 boards to go along with some tenacious defense on Curry. George Hill even put up 15 points and had two steals on Durant in one-0n-one situations. And, Jordan Clarkson played just eight minutes. Yet, it wasn’t enough.
The Cavs certainly had a hard enough time overcoming the Warriors, but they also have had to overcome officiating in a series that should be tied and the shortcomings of their own coach (who’s running their star player into the ground, and who’s unable to play his best players). The refs seem to fall for every bit of Golden State BS and let them get away with sooo much more contact. It’s almost like the Cavs are playing five on nine. The Cavs may have to play a near perfect game and hope that the referees are a little more favorable if they plan on picking up a win in games 3 and 4.
Nate and I discussed all of that, but we also chatted about some of the intricacies of the Cavs defense and offense and what’s going wrong. We talked about a tired LeBron, something I didn’t think would be discussed since he’s been so robot-like this year. As the pod progressed, we looked into what the Cavs can change moving forward to hopefully have a better chance at winning, and we got into our series predictions. Like everyone else in the media world, we made sure to discuss the draft. And like the great homers we are, we posited why LeBron is going to stay in Cleveland and what the team needs to do moving into next season.
The series isn’t over and all hope isn’t lost. The Cavs lost the first two games in 2016 by 48 points. They’ve only lost by 29 this year. Plus, there’s at least 96 more minutes we’re going to have to discuss in the next week, so check this pod out. I feel a lot better after talking it all out. Well, I don’t feel like screaming irrationally at the TV. At the end of the day, that’s all most of us are really looking for after the past couple days.