Jim Sez NBA Finals Game 2 Preview
THE NBA FINALS - HERE'S OUR GAME 2 PREVIEW AS THE CAVS LOOK TO "GET EVEN"
So, what was the most discouraging thing about Cleveland's Game 1 loss to Golden State this past Thursday night?
For us, it was the fact that the Cavaliers didn't "push the ball" and actually had a few 24-second clock violations in that 104-89 setback but there were surely other reasons to fret if you happened to root (or wager on) the Eastern Conference champs:
For example, the Cavs turned the ball over 15 times (and sported only 17 assists) while the Warriors whipped out 29 assists against only 9 turnovers;
The battle of the benches was a "no contest" as Golden State's reserves - namely Shaun Livingston (20 points), Andre Iguodala (12 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists) and Leandro Barboso (5-of-5 FGs for 11 points) - was incredible while Cleveland's reserves totaled only 10 points in 55 minutes of play and never did get a foothold here;
Finally, Cleveland's first-year head coach Tyronn Lue often appeared overmatched by clipboard-breaking Steve Kerr - true, the Cavaliers roared back to take a short-lived lead late in the third quarter but Lue never did get his point across that the ball had to move side-to-side quicker or that defensive communications had to be better. It was a frustrating night for the Cavs' head ball coach.
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On Sunday, it's ...
NBA FINALS - Game 2
CLEVELAND at GOLDEN STATE - 8 p.m. ET, ABC; Warriors lead series 1-0
No question at all that the first "order of business" for the Warriors here is to get Steph Curry and Klay Thompson (a combined 20 points on 8-of-27 FG shooting) back on track after that uncharacteristically bad Game 1, so it's common sense to think that these "Splash Brothers" will get involved heavily early on. Hey, if you tell us Cleveland's defense will stick to Curry/Thompson the way it did for much of that NBA Finals opener, then the 6.5-point underdog Cavaliers will have a shot providing the GS bench doesn't "go off" again but what's really the odds that Curry and Thompson don't combine for 55-plus points here, right?
In terms of game-planning, maybe it's best - for the moment - to turn back the clock a bit and recall that last year when the Cavaliers came off a Game 1 overtime loss in the Finals, Mr. LeBron James cranked it up to a whole new level with 39 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists (yes, one of the greatest single-game stat lines in NBA Finals history) en route to a 95-93 overtime win.
It goes to figure that James will take charge a bit more here after the Game 1 loss the other night and so the punch/counterpunch here is James will shoot it way more than the 21 attempts he had in this Finals Game 1 while Golden State will double 'em more and certainly will expend more energy banging James when he enters the paint.
The X-factor for the underdog Cavs ...
Cleveland must do better than 7-of-21 from beyond the three-point arc or this series will look a whole lot more like a five-game set rather than the seven-game series that so many "experts" envisioned at the start.
Now, here's the Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals series in game chart form (all home teams are in CAPS below):
|6-2||GOLDEN ST.||- 6||Cleveland||104-89|
Spread Notes - Golden State's covered its last four games in a row ever since getting down three games-to-one versus Oklahoma City in the Western Conference Finals and overall the Warriors are 9-2 vig-wise at home during this year's playoffs; Cleveland's a money-losing 3-5 ATS (against the spread) on the road in this year's post-season.
NOTE: There's more NBA Finals coverage in the next edition of Jim Sez plus NFL, NBA Draft Notes and MLB action too in these upcoming columns.
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