If you’ve been watching this year’s NBA finals, you’ve most likely written the Cleveland Cavaliers off but not so fast, the Cavs are not in as much trouble as you think.
Just as everyone suspected, the addition of superstar Kevin Durant to a 73 win team has made the Warriors nearly impossible to stop, especially in these finals where they’ve beaten the defending champs by double digits in the first two games.
Though the Cavs seem down, they are definitely not out; more of a contribution from some key role players could have LeBron and the Cavs back in the series.
Through the first two games the Warriors bench has only outscored the Cavs bench by 5 points so bench players are not to blame for the first two losses rather than the starters. When you take a look at the starting five for both teams they are pretty evenly matched.
The Warriors have 3 stars in Curry, Durant, and Green while the Cavs have James, Irving, and Love; some may argue that Klay Thompson is an added advantage but his offensive presence has not been a major factor through the first 3 series of the 2017 playoffs averaging about 14 points a series, a 12 point drop from last year’s average through the first 3 series.
In game one the Cavs received no help from starters J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson, Smith ended the night with three point and two turnovers while Thompson had zero points and four rebounds.
On the other side, Pachulia and Thompson combined for 14 points and Klay a huge help on defense. In game two this Klay Thompson had a scoring outburst which contributed to the Warriors dominance while J.R. Smith failed to even put any points on the board.
This has been the biggest difference throughout the series so far; with the big name players for both teams contributing heavily, J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson are going to have to step up if the Cavs are going to have any chance of competing. Luckily for the Cavs the next two games are in Cleveland and role players usually play better at home.
More of a contribution from Smith and Thompson and we could see the Cavs back in this series but if Klay continues to score like he did in game two the Warriors may be impossible to beat.
We also mustn’t forget the fact that both the Warriors and Kevin Durant blew a 3-1 lead in last year’s playoffs. Last year playoffs we witnessed Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder blow a 3-1 lead in the western conference finals to the Warriors, then we watched as the Warriors suffered the same fate at the hands of the Cavaliers.
Now that the two former MVPs have joined forces blowing a finals lead seem highly unlikely but not impossible.
Don’t count the Cavaliers out just yet because with more of a contribution from J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson they can be just as powerful as the Warriors and if put in a position to end the series, will Steph Curry and Kevin Durant be able to seal the deal or will they blow a huge lead like before and suffer crushing defeat?