By Kayla Solomon
The NBA Finals have been nothing like we expected. Everyone was looking forward to watching Lebron come alive with the help of Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, but it has been the total opposite. As a matter of fact, it turns out Cleveland played better when nearly the whole starting roster was injured in the 2015 Finals. Down 2-0, can the Cavs turn the series around or will they face the same losing misfortune as many of the other Cleveland sports team have?
Let’s put this into perspective. The first two games of the 2015 NBA Finals went into overtime- something that had never been done prior. LBJ did all of the work, scoring a combined 83 points and was a major factor in his team tying up the series 1-1. This time around, the Warriors have coasted to victories by a combined 40 plus points in the first two games- the largest margin in the Finals thus far. The differences between the two series couldn’t be more different.
The one thing that Cleveland does have on its side is a home playoffs record of 7-0. Game 3 and Game 4 will both be played at Quicken Loans Arena, which could provide the good luck that Lebron and his teammates desperately need. However, it won’t be as easy as a rowdy home crowd in the stands. The Cavaliers have to switch up their initial game plan to achieve this win. They can no longer only focus on double-teaming Steph and Klay, but the entire team.
I originally put an emphasis on the Splash Brothers in my Game 1 Preview, but it turns out I was slightly off. Steph and Klay have not played their best basketball as of late, but this has made players like Draymond Green, Shaun Livingston, and Andre Iguodala step up exponentially. The problem with this is it becomes even more of a challenge for the Cavaliers to defend when every player on the Warriors roster has the potential to score 10+ points and five who can easily put up 20. With Kevin Love out tonight and questionable for the rest of the series with a concussion, the Cavaliers lose a valuable scorer. As I mentioned before, Golden State moves at a faster pace than your average NBA team, so it’s normal to get worn out. Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue has to strategically find a way to conserve the energy of his players, which could mean trimming the minutes of his starters. Risky move, but it could work.
I’m still saying Warriors in six, but I’d greatly appreciate it if the Cavaliers made this a more interesting series.