When: 8 PM
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland Calif.
After a few days off, and lots of discussion in between, it's time for Game 2 of the NBA Finals. This one is sure to raise just as much discussion, but it's possible it won't be as exciting.
Game 1 was one of the best basketball games all season, with both teams playing incredible basketball. It's hard to point to a single player on the Warriors that was dominant, but Steph Curry reminded everybody why he was the MVP and led the Warriors to a solid all-around performance. Despite Draymond Green's struggles, Golden State managed to keep LeBron James out of the restricted area, and forced him into a lot of jump shots. Even though James still put up big numbers, this was exactly what the Warriors wanted out of their defense.
On the other side, Cleveland was a two headed attack of LeBron and Kyrie Irving. Lots of isolation basketball with a diet of pick and rolls dispersed throughout. The hope was to get Golden State to switch and take them on in isolation sets, and they did well in doing that. Cleveland is a very good isolation team and they'll take anybody on the switch if given to them. Irving especially had a great game, and it really gave everybody hope that they were in store for an incredible championship battle.
Sadly, injuries stole that away from us just as it has done so much these playoffs. In overtime, Irving slipped on a drive to the basket, and in the process fractured his kneecap. This injury required surgery, and the Cavs are now without their second best player for the rest of the finals.
This lead us into tonight. Golden State got what they wanted defensively in the case of LeBron in Game 1, and they'll gladly have him score 40 points if it means they can stop everybody else on the way to a win. It's hard to see a situation where Cleveland picks up the win without a high volume scorer, like Irving, next to James.
If they are going to do it, the Cavs will need big performances out of role players like Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith. They'll need Matthew Dellevedova to be more than a guy that goes around diving at players legs, and they'll especially need James to be at his greatest. This isn't quite 2007, but LeBron is playing on a roster that is riddled with injuries, and he truly is the only star left. If he manages to pull out this series, he'll be in the conversation for the greateest to ever play this game, but he has one hell of a road that he has to go through.
Standing in James way to immortality is one of the most dominant teams in NBA history. The Warriors have lost three game at home all season, and two of those have happened in the playoffs. Their point differential is off the charts, and they've garnered comparisons to the 2001 Lakers, and 1996 Bulls. They are the overwhelming favorites going into tonight, and it's hard to see them not racking up another win at home on their way to a championship.
Will the Warriors dominate tonight's contest, or can LeBron James and Co. make it a contest? Lets all chat about it!