After a disappointing loss to the Warriors in game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers look to bounce back in probably a must win game. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson struggled in the first game but the bench unit was able to score 45 points compared to the Cavs 10 bench points.
Cleveland has to do a better job of communicating on defense. The Warriors were able to get a lot of uncontested layups or dunks in transition.
The start of game 2 was not as pretty as game 1. Both teams struggled from the field, Warriors shot 39% and the Cavs shot 32% in the first quarter. Both teams continued to struggle from 3-point range and were a combined 2-14 in the first quarter.
It was also a different start from LeBron James. He was 0-5 in the first quarter but he had good energy on the defensive end of the floor. It was the first time LeBron went scoreless in the first quarter of an NBA Finals game. He did manage to get three steals, five assists and three rebounds. Whenever he got the ball he pushed it up the court which allowed Cleveland to get into their offense quicker.
On the other side Andrew Bogut played great in the first quarter. He blocked four shots and grabbed three offensive rebounds. Some of his blocks led to easy baskets for the Warriors. Klay Thompson continued to struggle and he didn’t score in the quarter.
As a positive the Warriors grabbed seven offensive rebounds but they did have six turnovers after only having nine in the first game. Tristan Thompson provided good energy on the boards and scored eight points just from hustle plays. Steph Curry picked up two fouls in the quarter but managed to grab six rebounds. Cleveland had the lead heading into the 2nd quarter.
The lineup of LeBron James and the bench unit was not good once again. Richard Jefferson was the first man off the bench for the Cavs and he played 14 minutes in the half. Golden State went on multiple runs to push the lead to 15.
Draymond Green got it going in the 2nd quarter. He led all players in scoring with 18, which is more than he had in game 1. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson finally showed up and knocked down some 3-pointers in the quarter. Klay finished with eight points after going scoreless in the first. Steph went into the half with 12 points but picked up his third foul.
As the Warriors went on their run the Cavaliers kept slowing the ball down and posting up. That strategy was not working and Cleveland continued to miscommunicate on the defensive end. The game was getting out of hand before LeBron pushed the ball again.
LeBron scored 14 points in the quarter. He was able to get a couple of dunks and layups by pushing the ball off turnovers and rebounds. Cleveland was able to go on a 7-0 run to end the quarter to cut their halftime deficit to eight points. Both benches scored 10 points, Shaun Livingston only scored two points in the half. Jefferson scored seven points off the bench and also grabbed four rebounds.
Cleveland was only 3-10 from 3-point range but managed to force nine turnovers in the half. Golden State was 7-20 from 3-point range and was a plus 7 on the boards including nine offensive rebounds.
Both teams were sloppy with the ball in the third quarter. Only one team was able to knock down shots though. Golden State scored 30 points in the quarter to push their lead to 20 points heading into the 4th. The Warriors held the Cavs to 35% shooting.
The Cavaliers only scored 18 points and had eight turnovers in the quarter. LeBron James and Richard Jefferson were the only players that played with some energy. Kevin Love removed himself from the game and did not return in the quarter.
Steph Curry picked up his 4th foul but that did not stop the Warriors. Draymond continued to lead the Warriors by scoring 10 points in the quarter. The ball was jumping for the Warriors as they were able to get a lot of open shots. Draymond was taking shots off the dribble and everything was falling for him. With Steph out of the lineup Klay got it going and knocked down some deep 3-pointers
At times it looked like LeBron was playing with the same team from last season. He was the only guy with some energy and a sense of urgency. He tried to make plays for others but his teammates were dropping passes out of bounds. He had seven turnovers because he was trying to find a teammate instead of just shooting the ball.
Cleveland started the fourth quarter with both Timofey Mozgov and Tristan Thompson but the results were unchanged. Golden State continued to score and play great defense. Coach Lue threw in the towel from the beginning of the quarter and the Warriors never looked back. The bench unit played the entire quarter for the Cavs.
Kevin Love experienced dizziness after getting elbowed in the head in the 1st half by Harrison Barnes. He stayed in the game to finish the half but during the 3rd quarter he checked out of the game and did not return. Love only played 21 minutes, scoring five points and grabbed three rebounds.
It’s not great when your second best player is Richard Jefferson. He was 4-5 from the field and 4-6 from the line. After taking 12 free throws in game 1 Kyrie Irving did not attempt a free throw in game 2 while shooting 5-13. His defense was very bad again and he fell asleep countless times.
Cleveland is heading home for game 3 but they don’t have anything to hang their hat on. Yes they had a lead after the first quarter and looked like they had a nice game-plan but they were outplayed after that. LeBron tried to set the tone on the defensive end but his teammates did not get to his level.
Golden State was the best team on the road this year and they will look to take a commanding 3-0 lead on Wednesday.