By now you have seen the memes. If you have sports loving friends like I do, you have probably psychoanalyzed J.R. Smith’s blunder, Kevin Durant’s fourth quarter disappearance, and LeBron’s emotional meltdown between regulation and overtime of Game 1. The first game of the NBA Finals provided enough fireworks to banter about for the next month—which we will.
Game one saw a ridiculous, all-time great performance put on by one of the greatest players the world has ever seen. LeBron had 51! It was a good looking 51 too. Dunks, long range 3’s. My man had it all working, but even with that going on, the Warriors never really went away. That is because the rest of the Cavs combined for a whopping 63 points. Take away Kevin Love, and that drops to 42. I’m not one who harps on the “LeBron has no help” narrative to pump his legacy. Truthfully, those same people running that story into the ground was so excited midseason when the Cavs dumped old heads for these young ones. Why are people now up in arms that Rodney Hood and Jordan Clarkson isn’t there to save the day? Honestly, what did y’all expect? They are who they were. No disrespect to either.
I enjoy Clarkson’s irrational confidence. That word used to be an apt description for one Earl Smith III. Not anymore. Never in the history of ever has J.R Smith turned down an opportunity to shoot until Thursday night. That alone should let you know my man’s confidence is shaken. He doesn’t even look like the same guy this year. Not sure exactly what’s going on, but he has to give the Cavs SOMETHING or Rodney Hood may need to dust off the uniform.
The Warriors didn’t look great in Game 1. Kevin Durant has slipped into the OKC rendition too often for my liking. Him going iso doesn’t maximize the Warriors’ weapons. Playing through Steph, like they did in Game 2, is what the Warriors do best. He opens things up for them. Luckily, he and Klay combined for 10 3’s in Game 1, and that alone nearly matched the output of the Cavs next scorers behind LBJ.
Kerr made a small, but key adjustment in Game 2 by inserting JaVale McGee into the starting lineup. For all of his Shaqtin’-a-Fool moments, he is an asset to the Warriors in spurts. Only spurts, but he still gives them something Kevon Looney cannot.
Game 3 is pivotal. PIVOTAL. In the history of American sports, there has only been five teams to come back from down 3-0 in the NHL, MLB, and NBA combines. Of those five teams, exactly zero of them have are from the NBA. Not a single team has done so.
It is often accepted knowledge that supporting players play better at home, or that the NBA rigs games to increase viewership by lengthening the series. The Cavs better hope both are in play during the Cleveland leg of this series.