Finals Podcap: Warriors 122, Cavs 103 (Or, Screaming Irrationally at the TV)

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.

As always, you can catch us above, on Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts or Google Play.

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believeLAND
Guest
believeLAND
4 months 17 days ago

Lebron will win more rings if he gets the right coach and supporting cast.

Nate Smith
Admin
4 months 17 days ago

Shan
Guest
Shan
4 months 17 days ago

Its time for some radical changes – play KK over JR, and play Hood over JC. JR and JC are shooting all clunkers. At least KK and Hood will give something at the guard position. And, I wonder if IT would have helped with the scoring load. I know he is out for the season, but we only evaluated him for 15 games. Steph is smoking us anyways, if IT would have been in good form by now, we would at least have a shooter for a shooter.

Nate Smith
Admin
4 months 17 days ago

Hood is worse than Clarkson

worldbfree
Guest
worldbfree
4 months 17 days ago

And the creaky corpse of Calderon is better than both

Nate Smith
Admin
4 months 17 days ago

I’m skeptical on Clarkson. Doesn’t matter though. Cedi better than all 3.

JB225
Guest
JB225
4 months 18 days ago

I don’t understand why the media doesn’t talk about how entertaining would have been if KD didn’t joined the Warriors.
You could have the Warriors (with no KD), the Rockets and the Thunder (with KD and KD’s dignity lol) and it would be a real battle between those teams to reach the finals.
And whoever came out of the East could have competed decently against those but man this is so not entertaining.

worldbfree
Guest
worldbfree
4 months 18 days ago

To summarize:

1. Calderon over Clarkson
2. Drew over Lue
3. Cedi over no Cedi
4. Stevie Wonder over Tony Brothers, Ed Mauer, Ken Malloy, etc.

JB225
Guest
JB225
4 months 18 days ago

🤣🤣🤣🤣

JRL
Guest
JRL
4 months 18 days ago

Haha

Excl
Member
4 months 18 days ago
Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
4 months 18 days ago

No kidding…

MikeO
Guest
MikeO
4 months 18 days ago

Chee, thanks guyz…now the only relevant question: How did you possibly miss this one?

JRL
Guest
JRL
4 months 18 days ago

I don’t know why they even bothered to “rectify” this by admitting they missed the call. Just stop it. You’re only adding fuel to the fire.

Boogieeels
Guest
Boogieeels
4 months 18 days ago

Do you think there’s any chance that we could pull the ol’ switcheroo and secretly replace Calderon with Mark Price? Maybe if he cut his hair and restyled it a bit? I’d take a couple minutes a game of that at this point…

Vintage
Guest
Vintage
4 months 18 days ago

Despite the injuries, Kardashian drama, inconsistent play all season, I’ve been mostly happy with the effort TT has given these playoffs. It doesn’t always result in good play, but he doesn’t get down after a bad game. Especially glad how he doesn’t back down from Draymond and liked his little chest bump yesterday after Draymond drew a foul on him yesterday. I wouldn’t mind if he took on more of that “enforcer” role for the team: the guy who sets the tone physically, fouls hard (but clean) when guys drive into the paint, and protects his teammates.

JB225
Guest
JB225
4 months 18 days ago

Did the Warriors felt helpless When LeBron drop 51 on them?

If Stephanie Curry and the Warriors are so awesome why did they felt it was necessary to add KD to their team?

Cory Hughey
Editor
4 months 18 days ago

Awesome podcap guys. Nate, how can’t you remember the puzzle? It was James Jones’ idea I believe, and Lue put the last piece in after they won game 7 in 2016. Pretty swank.

The LeBron tax is real and always has been. I fear that he’ll become more ornery as he ages, and hopefully he’ll accept moving more to the 4, where he could dominate for years to come. Obviously they’ll need another ball handler to make it work (Kemba, CJ).

If LeBron leaves, I’m rooting for Porter or Sexton I’m the draft. If he stays, either Bridges makes sense. I’m with Nate on my aversion to a big, and that’s one of parts that hurts that they gave up their own first to the Lakers. While this draft has eight or so guys with star potential, it’s deep also, and there will be valuable role players to be had in the 20s.

JRL
Guest
JRL
4 months 18 days ago

We have a big already who can roll hard to basket. Finish with a soft touch and play good PnR with Bron. We don’t need another big. Those are a dime a dozen.

Vintage
Guest
Vintage
4 months 18 days ago

Man I miss the days of the LeBron/Z or LeBron/Varejao (occasionally) pick and pop elbow J. Seems like that shot has been eradicated from the league in favor of 3s.

JRL
Guest
JRL
4 months 18 days ago

I was talking about Zizic not Nance. Nance could be the backup.

JRL
Guest
JRL
4 months 18 days ago
Kevin
Guest
Kevin
4 months 18 days ago

That’s some brutality right there.

Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
4 months 18 days ago

They might not have gotten a timeout even if they had tried. Wasn’t it one of the Toronto games where some of the Raptors players and coaches were trying to call timeout in a last-minute situation and none of the refs saw them?

JoeyB
Guest
JoeyB
4 months 18 days ago

He must ask God every day what he did to deserve playing for this team.

believeLAND
Guest
believeLAND
4 months 18 days ago

man……….. this kills

TheOtherJason
Member
TheOtherJason
4 months 18 days ago

Awesome

TheOtherJason
Member
TheOtherJason
4 months 18 days ago

Also seems LeBron didn’t know the game situation either if he didn’t know they had a timeout. Also seems unlikely he was calling for then one that wasn’t granted as some have said.

Jack
Guest
Jack
4 months 18 days ago

He definitely tried to call for one right before JR passed it, but ref wasn’t looking. I think he was asking Lue why they didn’t get the timeout, and Lue either gave him a stupid answer or said the ref didn’t see it and Lebron kind of lost it.

Vintage
Guest
Vintage
4 months 18 days ago

Yeah I think LeBron knew we had one but the whole situation was so ridiculous that he just had to ask?

JRL
Guest
JRL
4 months 18 days ago

I feel extremely sorry for the guy. He went Super Saiyan and was robbed by the refs, JR and Lue.

Sim
Guest
Sim
4 months 18 days ago

For all those that have been saying “at least they have to respect smiths 3s,”. I’ve been seeing him get lots of open looks , and love also, until these guys start hitting 3s in the beginning of the game , is rather defensive players be in like cedi and green over love and jr , look at Korver he can’t get an inch to shoot ,

Jack
Guest
Jack
4 months 18 days ago

I mean, there’s Korver respect and then there’s normal respect. When JR gets an open shot, it’s typically because Lebron made an amazing pass to him or somebody overreacted to a kick to Jeff Green and rotated off JR by mistake. Love gets more because he’s guarded by Draymond a lot and Draymond is the fulcrum of their help defense on Lebron drives.

Sim
Guest
Sim
4 months 18 days ago

Lues decisions over the course of the season are killing us now , he put his money on jr , and didn’t play cedi , Of cedi had played all season he would be able to be a great contributor in these finals – a lot more than jr , I also feel that if nance would’ve played a lot more minutes throughout the season he would’ve had a lot higher ceiling than tt his offense scoring in paint and passing skills could’ve helped big time

Joshua Martin
Member
4 months 18 days ago

I think that was the plan (Nance) but then he injured his hamstring. I still don’t think he is as bouncy as he was when he first came over. It might take him the offseason to finally get right. I believe Nance could be REALLY good with LBJ if he develops this offseason and they have time to get more chemistry together.

JB225
Guest
JB225
4 months 19 days ago

Also the Cavs defense to begin the game was pretty bad too. It was so easy for the Warriors to get scores on easy cuts to the basket and a few backdoor plays. To beat the Warriors you have to be great defensively.

Jack
Guest
Jack
4 months 19 days ago

Literally no idea how they stayed in the game as long as they did.

JB225
Guest
JB225
4 months 19 days ago

At this point and given how bad Clarkson and JR have played I would at least try to give some minutes to Cedi and Hood and see what happens. Jr is getting out scored by Thompson like 20 to 7. 5ppg. From the beginning I didn’t expect the Cavs to win this series but as a coach you need to try something different for at least a few minutes.
I believe Lue prefers to play Jr cause of his experience but to be honest he has been as bad as JC. To me Jr looks like a rookie out there, no confidence at all.

believeLAND
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believeLAND
4 months 19 days ago

Man, f@$& the warriors. Lebron would own them if he even had a half decent supporting cast in a well-run organization.

JoeyB
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JoeyB
4 months 19 days ago

If Lebron played for the Spurs the past four years, the warriors wouldn’t even have made it to the Finals once.

JoeyB
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JoeyB
4 months 19 days ago

I think Lebron decided to mail this one in. He knew his best shot was game 1, with the rest he would have beforehand, and when it fell apart the way it did, he decided to conserve energy and wait for Game 3. I sometimes think we’d have a better chance to just play him 48 minutes every other game, and sit the other three.

Sim
Guest
Sim
4 months 18 days ago

I agree , when lebron sees he has no chance than he only plays at 75% and we can’t win unless he’s a 100 , we should just sit him every other game

Jack
Guest
Jack
4 months 19 days ago

He looked pretty good in general, but got gassed at one point in the 2nd, then got a second wind, but then didn’t have enough left in the tank to answer the warriors last haymaker.

JMay
Editor
4 months 19 days ago

Cedi isn’t getting playing time, we need to give up on that idea. His only time will be garbage 4th quarter minutes. Lue refuses to put him in the game for anything else. One thing you guys didn’t mention in the pod when talking about how we can be better next season… No Lue. Get rid of Lue and install a competent coach (Becky Hammon is still out there) and things will immediately improve if only because our rotations will be better, LeBron will get more rest, and he will be able to actually exert a little bit of effort on defense. If you include the slim possibility of an offense being installed that isn’t a LeBronfense, then we can get MUCH better. And that’s with no roster improvement whatsoever…

Jack
Guest
Jack
4 months 19 days ago

I refuse to lose hope. All we need is Lue to see the light for one minute. And at least then I can rest easy knowing that they threw the kitchen sink at em.

Raffy22
Guest
Raffy22
4 months 19 days ago

Yes – I was discussing this with a friend last night, but it might be fair to view this year as a transition year post-Kyrie. The real value of the trade will be that draft pick. We have a younger, deeper roster than in years past, and next year’s regular season mandate should be getting home court throughout the playoffs. LeBron can rest a lot more next season if we use our depth and have a decent coach (i.e. not Lue). This year was always going to be bumpy – next year should be a lot smoother.

JRL
Guest
JRL
4 months 19 days ago

So what needs to change for game 3 to give the Cavs as best a chance as possible?

Start KK over JR?
Bench JR and Clarkson?

So:
Hill
KK
LeBron
Love
TT

Pull LeBron out with 2min to go and insert Cedi in.

Start 2nd with:
LeBron
JR (Hood? – incant even believe I’m typing this)
Cedi
Green
Nance

Nate Smith
Admin
4 months 19 days ago

Here’s my rotation with: primary ballhandler, secondary ballhandler, SF, PF, C (sometimes these overlap as Green is often a secondary ballhandler). This gets hill and bron plenty of rest.

My Starters: Hill, LeBron, KK, Love, TT:
6 Minute mark: Hill, Green, Cedi, JR, Love
4 Minute mark: LeBron, Green, Cedi, JR, TT
2 Minute Mark: Hill, LeBron, KK, Green , Larry
2nd Quarter: Hill, Cedi, JR, Kev, Larry: Run Hill/Love P/R P/Post w/ Larry weak side screening.
8 minute mark LeBron, Green, KK, Love, TT/Nance
5 minute mark: Hill, Cedi, JR, LeBron, TT
3 minute mark: Starters

2nd Half:
8 Minute mark: LeBron, Cedi, JR, KK, Love
5 minute mark: Hill, Cedi, Smith, Green, Nance
3. minute mark: LeBron, Green, JR, KK, TT
Fourth Quarter: Hill, Cedi, JR, Kev, Larry
9 minute Mark: LeBron, KK, Green, TT/Nance
6 Minutes Mark: Hill, LeBron, KK, Love, TT/Nance
3 Minutes: Best lineup

JRL
Guest
JRL
4 months 18 days ago

I would be extremely happy if Lue was to get anywhere near that.

Incant wait for him to be fired.

cavs_fan_since 1980
Guest
cavs_fan_since 1980
4 months 19 days ago

i like your lineup better but we all know it’s meaningless. Lue’s lineup is all that matters and he ain’t changing it until the end. it’s his style. i hate it when a coach is so rigid but he is who he is. very faulty, stubborn coach who gets too much credit for the 1 ring.. and at times not enough credit just b/c of Bron. for me, he’s as bad as Byron Scott, but again, my view matters zilch

JRL
Guest
JRL
4 months 19 days ago

Can’t we please stop with the, “You can’t play Calderón because of his defense” commentary?

Is he not as good as Clarkson on D? Sure, I guess. I mean, Clarkson isn’t really a defensive phenom out there.

Is he 100% better than Clarkson on offense? Absolutely.

As it was mentioned by Marc Jackson yesterday, a missed shot is pretty much a turnover. Clarkson playing hero ball and forgetting he is on the court with KK, LeBron and Love while clanking 3’s and mid jumpers is a recipe for disaster – which we ALL know because we have seen it in every playoff series.

There is absolutely no way that Calderón will be any worst – overall – than Clarkson. No way José.

But unfortunately Lue will continue to play Clarkson like he will continue to play Green over better, smarter more capable players on his bench.

Jack
Guest
Jack
4 months 19 days ago

I’m not saying play Clarkson. I’m saying play Cedi in second unit lineups with George Hill as PG and when Hill needs a rest, Lebron has to be nominal PG. I like Calderon, but even as a rookie, Cedi is a better option because of his length, strength and hustle. And I have traumatic memories of Delly getting torched by Livingston in 2015, even though he’s 10x the defender Calderon has ever been, because he just wasn’t tall enough.

JRL
Guest
JRL
4 months 19 days ago

Yes, giving Cedi all of Clarkson’s minutes would be phenomenal but who takes over JR’s minutes? Korver?

Jack
Guest
Jack
4 months 19 days ago

Look JR makes his fair share of mistakes, but he also plays a lot of solid defense in the margins that don’t get attention. And on the offensive end, they don’t double him on the catch like they do Korver, but GSW respects his shooting, and that creates a lot of driving lanes for Lebron that aren’t so apparent. And when he goes off from 3, it transforms the Cavs in ways not even Korver can. Also, let’s not forget Korver is 37 and plays at a breakneck speed. You don’t want him playing 30+ minutes a night. So you need JR.

As I always like to say… JR giveth and he taketh away.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin
4 months 19 days ago

Gotta give credit to Durant. He played amazing defense on LeBron.

Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
4 months 19 days ago

Durant and the two to four other Warriors sagging way off the perimeter on any given possession.

Jack
Guest
Jack
4 months 19 days ago

You know a guy’s good when you call holding him to 30-9-13 on 50 percent shooting good defense…

Tim
Guest
Tim
4 months 19 days ago

And for all the Curry excuses when he plays bad how about a passing mention to depth perception being affected by eye injuries? From the Broadcast crew. Durant….smh

Tim
Guest
Tim
4 months 19 days ago

GTFO

Leo
Guest
Leo
4 months 19 days ago

Now that series shifts back home, maybe role players step up like usual, but Lue and staff need to prep for possible disasters, like JR doing next to nothing or TT looking useless. I seriously doubt Cedi or Calderon for 5 minutes would kill this team, they also need to rest Lebron like 6 minutes and play well without him. This goes on for years, but we still don’t have a coaching staff that can make guys play well without Lebron. Also Cavs have to play smarter on both ends, Warriors offense has been the same since Kerr took over, guys set screens then roll. Cavs should also stop switching on defense, its not working. And they need to cover Steph at half court and give him zero space. Adjustments to be made, but team is right there

Jack
Guest
Jack
4 months 19 days ago

I just don’t know Lue cannot be thinking about using Cedi. Clarkson is a disaster on both ends. At least you know Cedi is going to make the right play, and any rookie mistakes he makes, he’s gonna make up for with hustle plays.

Jack
Guest
Jack
4 months 19 days ago

Most coaches would love to have that option. Granted, Jordan Bell is also a rookie and has looked absolutely lost out there most of the time, but he never played in the type of atmosphere Cedi did in Europe.

Jack
Guest
Jack
4 months 19 days ago

BTW, you can’t play Calderon in this series. As much as he would help on offense, and you could theoretically hide him on Jordan Bell or Nick Young, he’s gonna get murdered on switches when he has to guard Curry or Livingston against their small ball units.

Rey
Guest
Rey
4 months 19 days ago

I got as far as the first 30 minutes of your podcast then stopped listening. Complaints about Warriors-favorable officiating and little about bad Cavs offense and worse Cavs defense. The only thing missing was some cheese to go along with the whine.

MJ 45
Guest
MJ 45
4 months 19 days ago

Nice to see the warriors try on defense right out of the gage

This series isnt about the Cavs, as much as we or the media may want it to be. If the warriors play defense like that and hit shots, the Cavs will lose handily. This game showed why they are the biggest underdog in 17 years

Jack
Guest
Jack
4 months 19 days ago

True, but GSW played some of their best defense, shot 42 percent from 3 and 57 percent from the field and it still took them until midway through the 4th to close the game out. And like I said, Cavs starters are playing GSW to a complete draw, so there’s a possibility the Cavs can pull a couple off at home if there’s any swing in bench play or Lue can find a lineup that will play defense against GSW’s second unit.

These Cavs certainly aren’t as talented as in years past, but they were somehow able to hang around against GSW, even with them missing open 3’s consistently in both games and Lebron having a fairly pedestrian game for his standards in G2. GSW is definitely the more talented, disciplined and better-coached, but for some reason, the Cavs do seem to be on the cusp of something that could make it a series. It’s always possible Iguadola comes back and they find another gear, but as it is, they are playing with fire.

Jack
Guest
Jack
4 months 19 days ago
Thought it was an encouraging game for the most part because they took about 5 haymakers from GSW before they just couldn’t come back from it. This could definitely be a different series back in Cleveland, where you’d suspect the Cavs get some calls and shots to fall. But Lue needs to switch up his strategy. I noticed last night and checked once the stats came out. Can’t totally confirm because the NBA doesn’t provide the proper filters, but based on the net ratings outside of OT G1, the starters have a net rating of .1. Those lineups with Clarkson were tragedies in G2 because the Warriors figured out how to attack them. Lue is running Lebron into the ground against their reserves trying to gain some ground, but its unnecessary and counterproductive. If he’s gonna play the whole game, he can’t play the defense he needs to to prop those Clarkson lineups up, so Lue has got to find a lineup that can hang defensively and play those lineups to a draw without Lebron and give Lebron and the starters with whoever is playing better between Nance and Tristan to bring it home. I doubt Lue is going to… Read more »
Scotch
Guest
Scotch
4 months 19 days ago

Ok clearly I am responding to the podcast in pieces cuz I’m listening to it while working overnight…but david wood. Your recency bias is insane.

There is no way to judge this season’s lebron. No way. No other superstar has ever dealt with the turnover Lebron has this year. It’s never happened. Please tell me what a solid coach and Lebron can do with this team that Lue and Lebron did not do this year??? Surround Lebron with players who he can take the time to get used to is NOT what happened this year. Not at all. What happened was Lebron lifted a team of disparate pieces to the NBA finals.

We are only 2 years away from the greatest title run in NBA history. 2 years. The modern NBA has NOT Passed lebron by. The current cavs team has had 20 games to date with Lebron. 20 games. That’s just not enough to judge anything.

Scotch
Guest
Scotch
4 months 19 days ago
Guys…guys…this was cathartic. And also gave some hope. And I wasn’t even short on hope. We are genuinely just as good as this team if we don’t screw ourselves in transition. We are deeper and they are top heavy (unless David West is a three point shooter). but you can’t throw JR Smith out as a player because he seems out of shape or something. He isn’t. He is in fantastic world beating shape. But he has also gone to 4 straight finals…just like Lebron, Thompson, Love…and Curry, Thompson, and Braymond… He probably has to be in better shape than 4 of those 6 guys in order to not break down at this point. He has been injured less than love, TT, Curry, and Thompson. You just can’t fault a guy for getting blown by when Lue forces him into 30+ mins for 4 straight finals runs. We won a title playing Moe Williams and Dahntay Jones…we have at least 3 players on our bench that are better than those 2 that can play minutes. Lue has to use them if we’re going to have a chance to finish games. or maybe Lue knows what he’s doing. we won game… Read more »
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