The Golden State Warriors channeled their inner Freddy Kruger during Game 1 (113-91) and 2’s (132-113) massacre of the Cleveland Cavaliers. This series beat down comes to no surprise, as fans gave the Warriors a 93% chance of winning the series.
Kevin Durant and Steph Curry have been nothing but spectacular through the first two games. Durant, averaging 36 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and shooting 56% from the field, has torched the Cavs on both sides of court. Durant’s three blocks per game has shown his ability to take up space on the defensive end, while disrupting the Cavs offensive game plan. Curry registered his first ever triple-double in the playoffs in Game 2, with 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. With Golden State’s two-headed monster playing the way they are, it will be tough for LeBron James and company to survive the onslaught going forward.
Luckily for the Cavs, they are going back to their home crowd. Down 0-2, the Cavs go into Game 3 with their proverbial backs against the wall. James is averaging a triple-double through two games, with 29 points 13 rebounds and 11 assists. Kevin Love has also been a bright spot for the Cavs, especially after a subpar performance in last year’s Finals. Love (averaging 21 points and 14 rebounds) along with Kyrie Irving (averaging 22 points and 5 assists), has assisted LeBron in shouldering the load for the champs.
Surprisingly, Tristan Thompson and JR Smith are virtually no shows. The Cavs overall team defense is pedestrian at best. The Warriors turned the ball over 20 times in Game 2, yet they still find a way to score 132 points! Constant isolation/ drive and dish basketball from Lebron and Kyrie make life on defense easy for the Warriors. Even worse, their (Cavaliers) bench play (excluding Iman Shumpert) is non-existent. That being said, the Cavs have the Warriors right where they want them (for now).
LeBron James is known for playing his best basketball going into much-needed games. In last year’s Finals, James dropped 41 points along with a triple double to help the Cavs withstand the Warriors’ Game 5 closeout attempt. In the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, down 3-2 against the Boston Celtics, James led the Miami Heat to an improbable victory in Boston Garden. After scoring 45 points, grabbing 15 rebounds and dishing five assists, James and the Heat were able to extend the series and go onto win in Game 7. Not only do I believe James will put on a heroic effort Game 3, but the rest of the Cavaliers will follow suit.
The champs will go on to win Game 3, by a score of 112-100. James will be huge in Game 3, as he goes for 36 points 12 rebounds and nine assists. Don’t expect Coach Ty Lue to make any adjustments to the starting line-up. Smith will be lights out from the field including from three. Irving will go for 30+. Love (expecting 18-25 points from him) will push the Cavs over the top in the waning moments to secure the win. Kyle Korver will also come alive from three. Most importantly, Thompson will return to his double-double form. There will be more ball movement on offense and active hands on defense. Book it!