The Cavaliers were run out of Oracle Arena last Sunday in a 110-77 blowout loss to the Warriors. The Cavs were hoping to leave the bay area with at least one win as teams that fall 2-0 in the NBA Finals are only 28-3. With the recent news of Kevin Love sitting out in game 3, the Cavs chances are beginning to slim.
The Cavaliers weren’t able to secure a championship last year without Kyrie Irving or Kevin Love on the floor. LeBron had to carry the whole Cavaliers team, but didn’t have enough in the tank to beat a talented Warriors team. LeBron did as much as he could, taking the series to 6 games and averaging 35.8 PPG in the series. He almost averaged a triple double, and it still wasn’t enough to beat the powerhouse Warriors. However, considering that LeBron will still have Kyrie on the floor, its a whole different dynamic.
Having Kyrie is obviously a huge asset to James and the Cavs, but not as much as they need. Kyrie is only averaging 18 PPG this series, and without Love, thats simply not enough to beat the statistical best team to ever play. So with Irving playing sub par at best, and Love out of the line-up, who’s going to save the Cavs?
The answer is: ( Little kids voice ) LeBron James.
LeBron has only put up 42 points in the first two games of this series. While it may not seem all that bad, compare it to last years first two Finals games where he put up 83 points ( 41.5 PPG ). At this rate, its not surprising that they’re down 0-2.
LeBron is going to have to play at an exponentially higher level if they want to take one from the Warriors at home. He is definitely the most versatile and athletic player on the floor every night he plays. Although by game 4 Kyrie and Love will be assumed to play, LeBron is going to have to play like he did last Finals if he and his team even want a chance to win this series.
But, its obviously easier said than done.
LeBron has the talent where he can take the ball every possession and keep his team in the game. With Kyrie still in the lineup, LeBron won’t have to worry too much about passing and getting his team and bench involved. LeBron has the athletic advantage where he could take the ball to the hoop every time he gets it, or dish it off a pick and roll. The Warriors will be giving him more attention without Love on the floor, so he should exploit the attention and find his teammates off of pick plays.
In order for the Cavaliers to get a game back tonight, its going to rely on LeBron James, and his ability to find his teammates when the attention is all on him ( so still LeBron ). If the Cavs can keep a big lineup in rotation, and let Kyrie and LeBron drive and shoot, and grab the boards if they can’t finish, their chances will drastically increase.
Their main goal should be to get the series tied at home before going back to Golden State. But its going to rely on LeBron’s play and his ability to play up top the situation. LeBron has a Finals record of 2-4, and has to play his best basketball if he wants a chance of making that 3-4.