Okay, I’ll be honest. I did not believe anyone would even want to read an NBA Finals game 1 and 2 review and quite frankly I wasn’t really in the mood to write one. It was THAT bad. Two things the Cavs had to do was be physically stronger than the Warriors and match their hot shooting but they did neither of both in Oakland. Mix those two elements up with random, subpar officiating and you get fifteen point game 1 loss followed by a thirty-three point game 2 loss. Safe to say, this was not the Cleveland team we had seen throughout the playoffs. Following game 2, the Cavs would get a stern talking to from Player Development Coach, Phil Handy. Handy, a usual quiet coach, let his voice be heard in a rant filled with swears and inspiration. Following this talk, our Cavaliers headed back to Cleveland down 2-0 in the series but excited to play in front of their boisterous, believing, Cleveland fans.
A sense of anxious nervousness filled the Quicken Loans Arena as the Cavs, in their home whites, stood across from the defending champions, Golden State Warriors. “It’s a do or die game.” This quote by LeBron James was more true than ever and the Cavs would waste no time when the game tipped off. Immediately, one could see the Cavaliers feeding off their home crowd and this deafening crowd frustrated the Warriors, namely the “Splash Brothers.” The defense was unreal as they never let the two best shooters in the league get off a decent look and after one quarter of play, the Warriors had 16 first quarter points, tying Kyrie Irving’s first quarter production. Yes, the 20 point lead the Cavs had early would be trimmed down to 8 at the half but it seemed the Cavs always had an answer. Whether it was a three or a defensive play, we were in the Warriors’ heads. The “cherry on the top” so to speak was LeBron deflecting a Curry pass, shuffling the ball to Kyrie, and smashing a one handed alley oop jam from the Robin to his Batman. The crowd roared in approval as they were up and cheering nearly the whole game.
It was a fun way to respond being down 2-0. The Cavs were all over Curry forcing him into so many turnovers. The Cavs were bumping him all over the place and frustrating his teammates. A 120-90 score would appear on the scoreboard when the clock hit zero – a 63 point turnaround from game 2. “We dedicated this game to him (Kevin Love),” said Irving after the performance. Love, who was not cleared to play in game 3, is still questionable for game 4. However, if he does play, he may be coming off the bench to add the scoring punch and because the lineup worked so well in game 3 without him. Richard Jefferson, a true veteran, did so much more than what appeared in the box score in the absence of Love. The Cavaliers are back in the series but the key is to have the same intensity in game 4. It all goes down tonight at 9 PM in the Q on ABC. The championship sits just 3 wins away.