The Golden State Warriors lead the Cleveland Cavaliers 2-0 in these Finals. The Cavs have been outscored by an average of 24 ppg, have scored 36 points less from the three-point line, and haven’t notched over a hundred in their seven straight losses to the Dubs. It might sound repetitive but the name of the game is to get the ball in the basket, and this Cleveland team has struggled as of late in doing so.
The Warriors are firing on all cylinders while their opponents are sputtering. ESPN’s BPI has Golden State as 92%-to-8% odds on favorites over Cleveland. And with all that being said, I ask of you as a fan from the team of ‘THE LAND’, So you’re telling me there’s a chance?!? Albeit, painstakingly slim, but none the less a chance.
What looks to be a daunting climb for this Cleveland squad, they can’t be discouraged as to think they’ve been the only team in this hole with still a strong belief that they can pull off the unthinkable. Let me take you back a decade ago. The Miami Heat trailed the series (0-2) and Game 3 versus the Dallas Mavericks by thirteen points with six minutes left. The stadium had fallen silent, and Miami’s hopes of bringing the city its first title seemed bleak. Sound familiar? The team searched for answers, when finally, their young superstar took over.
Dwyane Wade led an epic comeback late in the contest to give the Heat their first win of the series and much-needed momentum. After being able to swing the pendulum of momentum, the Heat would not relinquish it back to the Mavs and would win four straight to capture their first NBA Finals title. Dwyane Wade would be named Finals MVP, but not before he would secure the game’s last rebound and throw the ball as high as possible into the rafters of the American Airlines Center. Where they stood then, compared to a few games earlier, it seemed unlikely they would be the ones to hoist the trophy in this stadium. They may not have had many believers, but they didn’t care, and neither should this Cleveland team. What may be the most disappointing part is that the Cavaliers have shown a lack of effort on the biggest stage, which is alarming. Yes, they may have beat up on a weaker Eastern Conference, but they did what they were supposed to do, and beat the teams in front of them in dominating fashion.
There will be games in this league where you struggle to score while the opposition does it with ease, but there is no reasoning for the effort you put forth or lack thereof. They’ve become fairly familiar with one another but why is it that one has made the proper adjustments, while the other looks to be trending in the wrong direction?
Golden State is nowhere near an easy team to defend, but even they’re surprised as to how easy baskets have come in this series. Miscommunication has plagued Cleveland’s defense, and the Warriors have found plenty of wide open dunks, layups and threes; all categories they thrive in. Why is it that since the opening tip to this series, the Warriors just look as if they just want it more? The ball flies around the perimeter, touching everybody’s hands to make it seem as if all of them are a threat to score, while on the other end, the ball remains stagnant as a Cavalier continuously dribbles the life out of the ball. This may be another level of competition, but they have gotten away from what got them to this point. They were the most dominant team in terms of numbers and body language heading into this series. They were the ones who swung the ball around to give everybody a chance to be a threat on the offensive end. And even though the numbers would say otherwise, they played with intensity and heart on defense.
Now they might be playing against the team that boasts the best regular season record in NBA history at 73-wins, but by no means are they unbeatable. Just in the last series, the Warriors were in, they went on the road for games 3 & 4 and got beaten handily, so it’s not an impossible task. The Cavaliers are down 2-0, but LeBron could easily call his buddy/former teammate Dwyane Wade and ask him about one game can change a series. They can’t look at it as they have to win four. They need to take it one step at a time and take it a game at a time. One game won’t win this team the series, but it can go a long way into changing how the narrative will play out.