The Cleveland Cavaliers are heading home and they need answers quick for game 3. Their offense has disappeared and they lack defensive intensity. Going down 2-0 is bad but heading home should help the Cavs role players play better. LeBron James has said it was a must-win game and the Warriors know they don’t want to give Cleveland any momentum.
In a must win game the Cavaliers finally came out with some energy which the home crowd enjoyed. Their lead was as high as 20 points in the first quarter. Kyrie Irving led the way with 16 points in the quarter after only scoring 10 in game 2. LeBron did his part by going 4-4 in the quarter.
Without Kevin Love, Richard Jefferson got the start and he continued to play well in these NBA Finals. Coach Lue switched things up and actually put Mozgov in the game during the first quarter. He didn’t take any shots but his size was a factor on a few defensive plays.
On the other side the Golden State Warriors were flat. They missed some good looks from downtown and they were careless with the ball committing five turnovers in the opening quarter. The Splash Brothers continued to struggle as they were a combined 0-8 for 0 points in the quarter. Klay Thompson left the game briefly after colliding with Mozgov.
Cleveland shot 71% from the field and had seven assists on 15 made baskets. The Warriors shot 31% and were 1-10 from 3-point range. Kyrie Irving would have outscored the Warriors in the 1st quarter but Harrison Barnes hit a tough runner to end the quarter. Cavs were up 33-16 after one quarter.
Instead of building on their success in the first quarter Cleveland reverted back to their old ways. They started the quarter with LeBron and bench players and again they were terrible as the Warriors went on a 9-0 run. The Cavs continued to hold the ball and played more isolation ball which led to bad shots.
Golden State continued to play their game and got good open looks off missed baskets. Harrison Barnes played well scoring 10 points and Klay Thompson returned to score 10 points as well. Steph Curry was a no show as he scored only two points and picked up three fouls.
Cleveland was lucky to have a nine point lead entering the half. After such a hot start they were 5-18 in the 2nd quarter. Irving only scored two points and LeBron went 1-8 in the quarter. The lack of ball movement allowed the Warriors to set their defense and get stops. Aside from a few plays were Cleveland actually got stops and moved the ball their offense was very bad.
The player of the half was Tristan Thompson as he finished with eight points and 10 rebounds. Seven of those were on the offensive glass. He kept a lot of possessions alive after the Cavs held the ball for bad shots. The Warriors had 10 turnovers and were only 2-14 from 3-point range.
Cleveland opened the second half on a 5-0 run and never looked back. Irving quickly scored more than he did in the 2nd quarter as the Cavs pushed the lead to 21 points. The defense was very active forcing five turnovers in the quarter but they also did a better job of staying on the shooters.
LeBron James led the way with 15 points in the quarter while shooting 6-8 from the field. He actually started stepping into his jumper and hit a few of them in a row. He capped it all off with a monster alley-oop off a steal. He finished with 32 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.
Kyrie Irving and J.R. Smith combined to score 50 points while shooting 8-17 from 3-point range. The confidence was there for Smith as he looked to shoot the ball often. Irving had eight assists which was more than he had in the previous two games.
On a positive note for the Warriors Steph Curry finally showed up to play as he scored 13 points in the quarter. As a team Golden State did not shoot well from the field and were sloppy with the ball. After a strong game 2 Draymond Green struggled to get anything going as Cleveland closed out harder on him.
The Warriors did not throw in the towel immediately but it didn’t matter as the Cavs just kept playing with more energy. They got to the majority of the 50/50 balls and won by 30 points.
The role players for the Cavs stepped up at home like most people expected. LeBron had a monster game and Cleveland finally knocked some 3-pointers. The defensive intensity was there the entire game, the ball movement got them open shots and they dominated the boards.
For the Warriors they need to figure out what’s wrong with Steph Curry. He has yet to score 20 points in a game this series and his turnovers (six) equaled his made baskets. After an explosive game 2 Draymond Green was held to only six points on 2-8 shooting. Overall they were sloppy with the ball committing 18 turnovers. On a good note the Warriors shot 26 free throws and Harrison Barnes had a good game.
Cleveland has life again and they have momentum going into game 4. Golden State has to make adjustments and find a way to get the Splash Brothers going early. Klay Thompson has yet to score in the first quarter of the series and Steph Curry has 10 turnovers and 13 made baskets in the last two games.