Put away the brooms there will be no sweeping on LeBron’s watch. Last night, the Cleveland Cavaliers dominated the Golden State Warriors, winning 120-90. Just when it appeared that this Finals series was running away from them, LeBron and the Cavs grabbed it by the collar and yanked it back in. We now have a series.
Game 3 was a game the Cavs absolutely HAD to win, and frankly, were expected to. Getting back to their home court after having slept in their own homes, in their own beds, eating that homecooking, you had to know that the Cavs would come out to play in front of their home crowd. And boy, did they ever. The Cavs jumped out with an early 9-0 lead, and even in those early minutes, the Warriors just seemed off. There were careless turnovers by Steph and Klay, terrible shot selection from Klay, two missed free-throws from Klay, and stupid fouls by Steph. Basically, Steph and Klay played like the Trash Brothers. The 2-0 start to the series has given some cover to Steph and Klay for their sub-par performance in the Finals. They are doing a lot of things well acting as decoys, spreading the offense out and thinning the Cavs defense but one thing they haven’t done much of is putting the ball in the basket. 20, 35, 29. That’s what they’ve scored in the three games, respectively combined. In order, that’s a bad game, good game, and decent game for either Steph or Klay individually. But when they combine for those numbers, that’s cause for concern.
Meanwhile, the Cavs duo of LeBron and Kyrie Irving finally had a game. In the first two games, LeBron has been quiet while Kyrie has been a disaster. Last night, though, they led all scorers with 32 for Lebron and 30 for Kyrie. LeBron is gonna get his, everyone knows that. But how he gets them matters. Last night, LeBron found his jumpshot. He went 5 of 9 on his mid-to-long-range shots; shots that the Warriors were more than happy to give to him in the first two games. If LeBron’s shot has returned, Iggy, Dray, Harrison, and Klay will have to honor the shot and play him that half-step closer, giving LeBron that half-step to blow past them on a drive inside. That’s not good. Thankfully, LeBron has had some trouble finishing strong at the rim, which is baffling (except that alley-oop that posterized all of Northern California and reminded you that LeBron isn’t just playing in Cleveland’s arena he’s playing in the pantheon).
The Over-Reaction: STEPH WILL NEVER BE FINALS MVP! KYRIE > CURRY! HARRISON DESTROYED THE WARRIORS WHEN HE CONCUSSED KEVIN LOVE! Seriously, though, Kevin Love.
The Mild-Mannered Reaction: The Warriors played terribly and the Cavs played their best. The Cavs defense looked as stout and nimble as it has all series and their shots were going in from all over the court. The Warriors are fortunate to have a bench as deep as they do, along with Draymond having made his case for Finals MVP, but it’s time for the Splash Brothers to step up and grab the reigns. Yes, the Cavs defense has been geared to stop Steph specifically, but their defense is nothing compared to OKC’s and yet, in Games 5, 6, and 7 of that series, Steph and Klay scored 31 and 27; 31 and 41; 36 and 21. It's time for them to put those numbers back up on the board. Expect it to rain in Cleveland in Game 4.
Golden State Warriors v. Cleveland Cavaliers
Warriors lead series, 2-1
Thursday, June 2: Warriors WON
Sunday, June 5: Warriors WON , 110-77
Wednesday, June 8: Warriors LOST, 120-90
Friday, June 10: Warriors at Cleveland, 6 PM (ABC)
Monday, June 13: Warriors at home, 6 PM (ABC)
Thursday, June 16: Warriors at Cleveland, 6 PM (ABC)
Sunday, June 19: Warriors at home, 5 PM (ABC)