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Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors Game 3 preview

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The Cavaliers head home looking to pick up their first win of the NBA Finals.

2018 NBA Finals - Game Two Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Cavaliers head back to Cleveland for the third consecutive year trailing their series against the Warriors 2-0. If they want any chance at all to win these Finals, it will come in Game 3. We’ll see what they can do.

Who: Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors, Game 3

When: Wednesday, June 6, 9 p.m.

Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH

Enemy Blog: Golden State of Mind

TV: ABC

Online: WatchESPN

Cavs injuries: None

Warriors injuries: Andre Iguodala (QUESTIONABLE - leg contusion)

Three keys to the game

  • The Cavaliers somehow maintained contact in Game 2 until a Steph Curry avalanche put the game completely out of reach. Those avalanches will come. In Game 3, they need to put pressure on the Warriors early like they did in Game 1. While maintaining contact, they were always one Warriors flurry away from the game being out of reach in Game 2. Keeping it close and being able to absorb quick 6-0 runs will be key.
  • If the Cavs can’t find a way to shoot...less terribly, they have absolutely no shot at winning this series. They’re getting 12 “open” looks per game from three and making 2.5 of them. That just can’t continue to be the case against a team whose margin for error is already unmatched in NBA history. The Warriors historically don’t shoot quite as well away from Oracle. The Cavs need to win the battle behind the arc if they even want a chance.
  • Is Andre Iguodala going to play? It’s easy to say that his impact is slightly overstated, but in last year’s Finals, the Warriors outscored the Cavaliers by 18.9 points per 100 possessions while he was on the floor and were outscored by 11.7 when he was on the bench. In 2016, the Warriors outscored Cleveland by 2.1 points per 100 possessions with Iguodala on the floor and were outscored by 7.6 with him on the bench, via NBA.com. Basically, he matters a lot, and if he plays, the Cavaliers are in trouble.

Key Matchup

It’s funny, but in a series with as much switching as this one, it’s probably fair to say that no individual matchup ultimately matters since nobody guards anybody consistently anyway. With that said, J.R. Smith and Klay Thompson’s production will be very important. Thompson didn’t look remotely affected by his high ankle sprain in Game 2, and J.R. failed to bounce back from his game-costing gaffe in Game 1. Smith’s much better at home, though, and the Cavaliers will need his production from three to keep things close..

Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction

The Cavaliers really could use this one, but the Warriors may have figured out a blueprint to score on their switching defense. The slipped screens are an adjustment Tyronn Lue has to figure out.

I think they will, and capitalize on a disengaged Warriors team that feels that they have the Finals in the bag.

Cavaliers 114, Warriors 108.