When the Golden State Warriors’ offense is on like they were Sunday night, it may be tough for even an All-Star team to beat them, let alone the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Warriors had it going for much of Game 2, especially offensively. Whether it was Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, or even JaVale McGee, Golden State was feeling it Sunday night and there wasn’t much the Cavs could do.
Cleveland surprised many by forcing Game 1 to go to overtime. Although they did that, not stunning the NBA world and taking a 1-0 series lead Thursday may be one thing that they will always regret. It not only would have given them at least a 1-1 lead and home-court advantage heading back to Cleveland, but it would have changed the mindset of both teams heading into Game 2 as well. With that said, the Cavs now must win four of the next five games. It may be an impossible feat in the end, but when you have LeBron James, anything is possible. In case you needed a reminder, just look back at what happened in June 2016.
Let’s take a look at some of the numbers in Game 2:
29/13/9 – He may not have scored 40-plus like he has done for much of the playoffs, but James’ 29 points, 13 assists, nine rebounds, and two steals were still dominate, especially considering a handful of his passes either led to wide-open misses by his teammates or a shooting foul, both of which don’t count as assists. He shot 10-of-20 from the floor, 2-of-4 from deep, and 7-of-9 from the free-throw line to notch his 29.
He proved that he was human at times Sunday night and still was just one rebound away from a triple-double. James is truly the greatest, no matter how good or bad his supporting cast may be.
44 – If it weren’t for the Cavs already being out of the game with just over four minutes remaining, No. 23 would have played all 48 minutes. He did all he could do, but there just wasn’t anything else that the King could have done in order to lead his team to a win and even the series at 1-1.
Like he has all postseason, James has been dominant, but without much help outside of a few teammates, no matter how good LeBron is, beating Golden State takes a lot more than just what No. 23 can do, as Game 1 proved.
22/10 – Kevin Love may have had 22 points and 10 rebounds while also totaling one assist, two steals, and one block, but there were times where he could have been much more dominant as well. The big man was 7-of-18 from the floor, and just 3-of-8 from beyond the arc while knocking down all five of his free throws, but he could have done much better offensively as well, which could be used as a positive heading into Game 3 and the rest of the series.
Whether it’s on the boards, defensively, or in the post, Love must play tougher against Golden State if the Cavaliers want to shock the world.
15/3/2 – When you have to guard Steph Curry pretty much the whole time you’re on the court, it’s hard to conserve some energy for offense. Although they weren’t huge numbers, George Hill’s 15 points, three assists, and two steals on 5-of-11 shooting (3-of-6 from three-point range) is definitely a positive that the Cavs can take from Game 2. The veteran must continue to score if Cleveland wants any chance of winning Games 3 and 4 in Quicken Loans Arena.
Although Curry seemed to not miss a shot in the second half, Hill did at least decently well on both ends of the floor for much of the game. The Cavs need someone other than James to be efficient offensively, and Hill did his best to produce in the scoring column and help his team in Game 2. Making Curry work on defense is key, and the veteran point guard tried to do just that throughout his 34 minutes on the court Sunday night.
11/5 – In just 23 minutes, Tristan Thompson was able to score 11 points and grab five rebounds while knocking down 5-of-8 from the floor and forcing Golden State to foul him a handle of times on the offensive glass on Sunday. His minus-1 was by far the best among any Cavs who played at least 10 minutes.
41.1/33.3 – Whether it was the Warriors’ defense or the wine and gold not being able to knock down shots, the Cavs shooting just 41.1 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from three-point range isn’t ideal. That’s not going to get the job done against one of the greatest basketball teams to ever be assembled.
11-for-11 – Trying to stop four future Hall of Famers at one time is tough. Trying to stop them along while two other players combine to shoot a perfect 11-for-11 from the field is near impossible. That’s exactly what McGee and Shaun Livingston were able to do in Game 2. The big man was a perfect 6-for-6 with 12 points in 18 minutes while the backup point guard was a perfect 5-for-5 for 10 points in 15 minutes.
Add that to Curry, Durant, and Thompson all scoring at least 20 points each and good luck keeping up, opposing offenses.. If Golden State gets that from any members of the non-Big Four, the Warriors just aren’t going to lose. It’s as simple as that.
2-for-9 – Some thought that the situation at the end of regulation during Game 1 may wake JR Smith up a little and that he may do very well in Game 2. That wasn’t the case.
Swish, while he shot the ball plenty of times, wasn’t shooting many swishes in Game 2. He was just 2-for-9 from the floor and 1-for-4 from beyond the arc to notch just five points in 31 minutes.
0-for-3 – Throughout much of the postseason, Kyle Korver has been the third-best player for the Cavs’ offense, behind only James and Love. That wasn’t the case on Sunday. In 17 minutes, the sharpshooter was a perfect (imperfect?) 0-for-3 from the floor (0-for-1 from deep) while notching just one point.
Cleveland will need to score plenty of points in order to beat the juggernaut Warriors’ in one game this series, let alone four. Korver must knock down shots, especially from beyond the arc, if the Cavs want to do that.
2-for-7 – Although he isn’t counted on as much as Korver at least in terms of the scoring column, when Jeff Green is the sixth man, like he has been throughout much of the postseason, he must shoot better than just 2-for-7 with six points. His defense and versatility is much needed, but he must score as well.
Referees – Although they weren’t as bad as they were in the opening game of the series, they still made some very bad calls (and missed calls) Sunday night. I’m not much of a “blame the refs” guy, but when the Cavs are already going against arguably four future Hall of Famers, not getting any breaks from the officials makes it an even more impossible feat to beat the Warriors in Oracle Arena.