By Craig Fields
Before Game 2 of the NBA Finals, a real possibility for the Cleveland Cavaliers was that they would be heading to Cleveland for Game 3 down 0-2 in the series. With the team being without Kevin Love since the Boston series, and Kyrie undergoing season ending knee cap surgery on Saturday, things looked pretty bleak for the Cavs.
However, not every team has the best player in the world, but the Cavs do. Not every team has that one individual that never loses hope in the face of adversity, but the Cavs do. Not every team has that game altering, momentum changing, undeniable leader that is LeBron James on their team, but the Cavs do.
And it is for those reasons that the Cavs will be heading back to Cleveland for Game 3 in a tied series. For the first time in NBA Finals history, Games 1 and 2 went into overtime. We saw in the first game how the Cavs looked very dead, unenergized and just flat out defeated in the overtime period in Game 1. They couldn’t buy a basket and looked unorganized on offense.
However, the story was a tad different in the second game. Different for the reason that shots actually fell for the Cavs in the extra period and their defense, which had been pretty stout all night, didn’t waver. They ended up winning the game by two points 95-93 in 53 minutes of play. Yes, the best offense in the league, and one of the best offensive teams in recent memory could not muster 100 points in 53 minutes of playing time.
The Cavs just looked more mentally tough in Game 2, and that my friends is the LeBron James effect. I still think that the Warriors win this series. It is not like Stephen Curry will shoot as poorly as he did in Game 2 in the remaining games of the finals. But I will be a danged if James’ tenacity and toughness didn’t make this series pretty exciting.
Poor officiating made this game tougher than it had to be for the Cavs and the Warriors, phantom calls and missed calls stained the game all night. There were more than a few times that James got hacked, bodied, thrown to the ground and just out right fouled, only to not hear a whistle go his way; and the series is still tied 1-1. How’s that for poetic justice.
Items of Note
– LeBron James had a very strong triple-double of 39 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 assists. This was his fifth triple-double in the NBA Finals, second only to Magic Johnson. He only shot 11-34 from the field but made 14-18 free throws in 50 minutes.
– Stephen Curry only shot 5-23 from the field including an NBA finals game worst 2-15 from beyond the arc. He obtained the dubious record from John Starks who missed 11 three-pointers in the 1994 NBA finals.
– The Warriors shot a measly 22.9% from the three point line in Game 2, compared to a respectable 38% in Game 1. This was the lowest point total for the Warriors in a game since Game 3 of the conference semifinals against the Memphis Grizzlies where they scored 89 points.
– This is the first NBA Finals win for the Cleveland Cavaliers in their franchise’s storied 45-year history.
Game 3: Tuesday, June 9 at Cleveland, 8 p.m. CT (ABC)
Game 4: Thursday, June 11 at Cleveland, 8 p.m. CT (ABC)
Game 5: Sunday, June 14 at Golden State, 7 p.m. CT (ABC)
Game 6: Tuesday, June 16 at Cleveland, 8 p.m. CT (ABC)*
Game 7: Friday, June 19 at Golden State, 8 p.m. CT (ABC)*
* If necessary