The NBA Finals is shaping up to be a pocket full of inconsistencies and injuries as both sports reporters and Vegas odds makers struggle to properly gauge which direction the series is more likely to go in.
In game 2 we witnessed LeBron James go for a Herculean triple-double of 39 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists. That, coupled with the ridiculously uncharacteristic poor shooting of MVP Steph Curry and you have a recipe for an overtime victory by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
To be certain, the victory appeared to be more a result of the cavalcade of improbable occurrences visiting the Golden State Warriors. In addition to Steph Curry having a bad game, forward Draymond Green also followed suit with a 10 point performance on 2-7 from the field. Not to be left out, center Andrew Bogut was not only getting his lunch taken by Cavs center Timofey Mozgov but he was also held to 2 points as well. Indeed, no one is expecting Bogut to score more than 10 points a game, but 2 points is just as much of an anomaly as Curry shooting 2-15 from three-point range.
As the seconds ticked away in the overtime victory for Cleveland, LeBron James erupted into an uncharacteristically emotional celebration as the series was tied at 1 apiece. Prior to the victory the rallying cry for Cavs nation was the playoff ending injury to All Star point guard Kyrie Irving and the loss of All Star power forward Kevin Love. But a big problem with using emotion as a catalyst for inspired play is it, like just about any other fuel known to man, has its limitations.
On Tuesday the Cleveland Cavaliers return home after their improbable victory and begin to game plan for a Golden State Warriors team that is likely seething over a missed opportunity to put the best basketball player in the world in a 2-0 hole.
A lion’s share of the blame for the loss has been placed on Steph Curry. Some folks believe that Cleveland guard Matthew Dellavedova’s handsy defense is what caused Chef Curry’s flame to be extinguished. However, don’t think for a minute that all the chatter hasn’t caused Curry’s substantial inner fire to boil over.
While Curry was having a frustrating night, his Splash Brother Klay Thompson has been waiting all postseason long to explode, showing up in game 2 with a 34 point performance. Now it’s time for the Splash Brothers to get clicking on all cylinders at the same time. Additionally, despite all the praise and accolades being thrown his way, Dellie isn’t the type of commodity that a wise man would be invest in long term anyway. I'm betting Marreese Speights doesn't miss another break away dunk either.
Despite the victory, the Cavs shot an abysmal 32 percent from the field while the Warriors shot 40 percent from the field. Normally shooting a higher field goal percentage than an opponent is an automatic predictor of victory and it is a wise bet to surmise Golden State will shoot a higher field goal percentage than Cleveland tonight as well.
Golden State will shoot better, they will be tougher and more aggressively on defense, which they will need to be as the Cavs outrebounded the Warriors by 10 boards. I don’t believe Bogut will be as thoroughly punked by Mozgov as he was in the last game as well. Coach Steve Kerr needs to get his bigs some easy looks early in the game. A little offensive output from your center and power forward takes some of the burden off the back court to make some of those shots.
My original prediction was for this series to be won by the Golden State Warriors in seven. However, with the injury to Kyrie and the Cavs’ clear struggles to put the ball in the basket, LeBron and the James Gang will be lucky to push this thing to 6 games. And that’s where I have it.
Golden State taking the series in 6.