Following a second straight loss to the Golden State Warriors in the 2018 NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers have to win in Game 3, otherwise they will come one step away from losing the title for a second year in a row.
LeBron James and his team-mates had the chance to beat the Warriors and steal the home-court advantage in Game 1, yet J.R Smith made a terrible mistake at the end of regulation and let the Warriors win the game in overtime, 124-114.
In Game 2, Golden State didn’t trail at any point in the contest and beat the Cavs 122-103 to make it 2-0 and earn their 13th win against the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.
Stephen Curry was tremendous, with 33 points and nine three-pointers, setting a new NBA record for most three-pointers in a Finals game.
Alongside him, Kevin Durant made an all-around performance with 26 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, while Klay Thompson added 20 points, although he was questionable before the tip-off.
This was the 100th career playoff game for Thompson, who became the first player in franchise history to appear in 100 postseason games with the Warriors.
On the other hand, James followed up his 51-point performance in Game 1 and was extraordinary with 29 points, nine rebounds and 13 assists, as Kevin Love had 22 and 10 boards. However, Cleveland came up short again and now have to overcome the odds to stay alive in the series.
The Cavs have to make many adjustments on both ends of the floor, if they are to make a come-back.
Offensively, only James and Love have been consistent so far. All the other players have to step up and make the difference, otherwise I can’t see how the squad will turn things around in Games 3 and 4.
Players like Kyle Korver, J.R Smith, Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson have played at very low standards in the NBA Finals so far, so they need to enhance their offensive performance and hit big shots in order to help Cleveland return to the winning track.
It’s worth mentioning that Korver, Larry Nance and Clarkson combined for five points in Game 2, whereas JaVale McGee and Shaun Livingston of the Warriors scored a total of 22 points in the second game.
On the other end of the floor, the Cavs were unable to stop Curry, Thompson, Durant and Draymond Green in the first two games, so they now have to be tougher defensively and prevent Golden State’s leaders from imposing their playing style and scoring easy baskets.
Although the Warriors’ bench have played mediocre in the postseason so far, the aforementioned four players can easily make the difference on both ends of the floor and lead their team to the third title in the last four years.
That said, Cleveland’s priority should be to ensure that none of Curry, Thompson, Durant and Green will be a game changer in the next couple of games.
On the other hand, Golden State don’t have to make many changes to their tactics, and will stick to their game plan, as they showed they have the depth and talent to beat the Cavaliers, despite LeBron’s amazing performances.
In addition, Andre Iguodala, one of the team’s best on-ball defenders, will reportedly return to action either in Game 3 or 4 and will make his first appearance in the series, after missing several games, with a knee injury.
Overall, Golden State now have the upper hand in the Finals, so Game 3 will be Cleveland’s final opportunity to retain their chances to fight for the title.
When it comes to the Cavaliers vs Warriors finals NBA betting, it’s difficult to make a prediction, however I think LeBron James will once again carry the team on his shoulders and Cleveland will stand tall against the Warriors in Game 3.