Have the Warriors already defeated the Cavaliers mentally? NBA Finals 2016
Drew Zlogar (@drewzlogar21)
The Golden State Warriors are putting the beat down on LeBron James and his Cavaliers so far in the 2016 NBA Finals. The defending champions are making a statement from the get go this series that even with the grueling playoff run they have been on, that they are still the best team in basketball. Both games out in the Bay have been embarrassing blowouts, with the craziest thing being that they are doing it without the “Splash Brothers” playing how they usually play. In two games, Curry and Thompson have only scored 55 combined points, when they averaged around that total per game in the regular season. The biggest key to this series for the Warriors thus far has been the second unit- particularly - Andre Iguodala’s defense on LeBron James making it tough for him to do anything with ease, and consistent scoring from Livingston. The series now shifts for three straight games in Cleveland, but the series will come down to Wednesday’s game 3. If the Warriors win that, the series is virtually over, if it isn’t already.
I know what you’re thinking: “Didn’t this jamoke pick Cavs in 6? Uhh what?” Well HoopJab faithful, for the first two games it looks like I have let you down. For my pick to come true and to make it 3 series (both conference finals and now the finals) in a row of correct picks, the Cavs have to win out. To be quite honest with you, they should feel lucky if they pick up a win at all, let alone 4 straight. The rhetoric around the Cavaliers all season was that they were going to be a different team to face come finals time. With a healthy Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, they for sure were going to be tough outs if you think back to last years finals when LeBron’s second best player was Delly (you can laugh, go ahead) and they STILL took it to 6 games.
Well, it seems as if the two superstars by Bron’s side aren’t going to be the help we all thought they would. Kyrie Irving is averaging 18 points per game through the first two games, but it is coming on 12-36 from the field. Kevin Love had a respectable game one with a 17 and 13 double double, but in game two was out of sync going 2-7 for 5 points before exiting the game and diagnosed with a concussion after being hit in the head by Bogut going for a rebound.
I think LeBron is too good of a basketball player and too great of a leader not to will his team to win this do-or die game 3 on Wednesday in Cleveland. He has been down before and counted out on even more occasions, so this isn’t a new feeling for him. After a rebound and an assist away from another postseason triple double last night, it’s hard to put the lion’s share of the blame on his shoulders, even though most of the media and fans will. He needs some help from the key role player contributors that have been so reliable and consistent entering the finals in Channing Frye, JR Smith, and Iman Shumpert. Even Delly hasn’t been of any help whatsoever, and he usually is a spark on the defensive end if nothing else.
As a basketball fan, you want the Cavaliers to at least make this a fun finals series to watch, and if that is the case then you should be rooting for a Cleveland victory on Wednesday. For that to happen, LeBron will have to be in a “score early, and score often” mode from the jump. With how poor his supporting cast has been so far, he can’t afford to come out and be passive trying to get his teammates involved for the majority of the first quarter before he truly turns it up. He will have to get to the rim, and get to it a lot. His jumper is not the shot he or the Cavs need him taking if they want to win, and to retain some sort of dignity back in Cleveland. Oh, and yeah it wouldn’t hurt if Frye, Smith, Shump, and Irving maybe combined for 10-12 threes like they are extremely capable of doing. Have hope for at least one more game Cavs faithful, I have a feeling your squad won’t want to go down 3-0 in their first game in Cleveland in this years finals.