This is it and this is what it all comes down to because if it isn’t, the Cavs are in big trouble. Game 3 has to bring forth the biggest and most commanding effort from this group or we may have to start looking to the draft. As we’ve seen, the Warriors are not slowing down. They’ve posted two huge efforts against Cleveland. They’ve played defensively sound and have been deadly from beyond the arc. If they can take a 3-0 lead, all signs point to the end being near and thus, the draft will be our final form of entertainment until next year
So, what can Cleveland do to stay alive? Well, defending the long ball will be key. The Warriors hit 18 from distance and shot 41.9 percent from behind the three-line on Sunday. They not only showed up the Cavs, they also set an NBA Finals record. So, needless to say, tighter defense against some of the league’s finest shooters will be paramount.
Outside of that, rebounds will be a big deal for the Cleveland, especially on the offensive glass. The Warriors gave up 12-less boards in the back end, but also made almost seven percent more shots than their opponent. If LBJ and and co. are tossing a brick, they’re going to need to get that rock back immediately because the Golden State offense has shown their teeth. Sportsbook TopBet has shifted the odds on the NBA Finals, with the Warriors now enjoying a prosperous cushion.
The x-factor in this series has been points from distance. As mentioned, the Warriors terrorized the Cavaliers in game two, but that hasn’t been the lone story. In fact, the better point to look at, is the lack of outside shooting and scoring from Cleveland.
They hit 11 shots from deep in game one and just eight on Sunday night in the series’ second game. Kyle Korver has led the team in three-balls this playoff run, while Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving led the club in attempts all season averaging nearly seven per game. Thus far in this series though, they’ve only gone 10 of 23. Not saying those are bad numbers, 43 percent is actually very solid from beyond the arc. The problem is they’re not shooting enough or getting enough open looks at that.
Love has found himself under the basket far too often, while Kyrie has turned over the ball eight times in this series. Goal number one is to hang on to the basketball, but the second goal on the agenda is to find better opportunities from deep. The Cavs lead the league this postseason in three-point percentage and we’re all aware that the talent is there. They need to do a better job with their playbook to isolate their men in the corners and get them open looks.
If the Cavaliers can get their long game back on track it will transform this entire series and even things up heading for the pivotal game four on Friday.