Cleveland Cavaliers v Golden State Warriors - NBA Finals Game 2
If the NBA was a movie then there is little doubt that LeBron James is it's biggest star right now. However some of the best pictures to come out of Hollywood are those that feature an ensemble cast and in the Golden State Warriors, the NBA has one of the finest collection of players it has ever seen. James dominated Game 1 of the NBA finals and ended up on the losing side. When he is less then stellar, those around him are not of sufficient star power to prevent him appearing in the odd turkey. Meanwhile the Warriors saw everyone on their cast list produce enough to ease to victory in Game 2 of the NBA finals, backed by a highlight show of three point shooting from Steph Curry who fired an NBA Finals record nine 3 pointers as Golden State ran out 122-103 winners to take a 2-0 lead in the series. Hopes were high of a competitive series after the drama and excitement of Game 1 but after being run close on the opening night, the Warriors never looked in any real danger as they led from start to finish in a blowout win that leaves Cleveland with a lot of questions to answer when they host Game 3 on Wednesday. Steve Kerr had the tactical plan worked out to a tee to see his team establish an early lead and then hold the Cavs at arms length throughout the rest of the match. He made one change to his starting line up, introducing the height of Jevale McGee to offer a presence in the paint, a fact highlighted by the 7 footer dunking the first two buckets of the game. With the Warriors looking to establish a presence inside, it forced the Cavs defence to head for the post, opening up the perimeter which Curry capitalised on later in the game. It was 3 minutes before the Warriors attempted a 3 point shot, Klay Thompson nailing it, and the Warriors made their first seven shots to open up a 9 point lead which they maintained for most of the game. It was Curry who missed the first shot for Golden State, and he didn't have the "best" of nights stats-wise going just 11 of 26 on the night, but with 9 of those coming from beyond the arc, he still contributed 33 points and killed the Cavaliers with momentum stopping shots. Cleveland's JR Smith, the villain of the opening game, was greeted with chants of "MVP" from the Oracle Arena crowd, and was one of many peripheral figures for the Cavs on the night. Even LeBron looked out of sorts at times, his eye bloodshot from a finger in the eye in Game 1, and exasperated by officials and his team mates all night long. He remained on court for the first 44 minutes of the game until his coach Ty Lue pulled him and the rest of the starters with four minutes to go, admitting defeat in this one and saving legs for the crucial two games ahead in Cleveland. Ahead by only four after the first quarter the Warriors started to open up the three point shooting game in the second. Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson both hit long balls in the opening stages, although Thompson's base line shot was a very long two as he had just stepped on the line as he released the ball. However the psychological damage had been done and coupled with a defensive effort that restricted the Cavs to just 3 of 14 from the field in the opening six minutes of the period, Golden State were able to pull away. Even before half time Cleveland looked a beaten team, James missing a lay up and failing to chase back as McGee dunked again at the other end. Even after a sloppy period for the Warriors had allowed the Cavs to close the lead a little, a couple of ridiculous threes from Curry stopped the rot and allowed Golden State to head to half time with a 13 point lead at 59-46. The third quarter saw the Cavaliers move the ball well, with LeBron dropping to play as the point guard. This move allowed him to get some rest by playing the creative role, and on the night he had more assists (13) than field goals (12) but even with Cleveland playing their best basketball of the night, Golden State kept them at arms length throughout, with momentum killing threes being shot whenever the Cavs narrowed the lead to single digits. Behind by 10 entering the 4th, Cleveland opened up proceedings with a 3 pointer from LeBron, only for Curry to hit back with two of his own. When he hit his 3rd of the quarter, with a ridiculous falling away heave as the shot clock expired, it ignited the crowd and sucked all the life out of the Cavaliers. Moments later Curry was fouled as he hit his fourth trey of the quarter, hitting the additional free throw to open up a 16 point lead and signalling the retreat of the starters and the end of the contest. Cleveland now head home facing two games to save the series. If they are to succeed, then LeBron needs some more of his team mates to step up and assist him. Kevin Love again contributed 20+ points but if those two are not firing then there is no one else at the moment showing any sign of being able to become anything more than an extra in this on going drama. If the Finals are to extend beyond 4 games, someone from Cleveland needs to produce a breakthrough performance. Otherwise the greatest star in the game will be looking for a new franchise to star in.
- 0 comments