NBA Finals Game 2 Preview
Warrior Vs Cavs Game 2 Analysis & Prediction
By Dan Favale
Golden State Warriors (-6.5) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (+6.5)
After the 15 point drubbing the Golden State Warriors handed the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night, it is surprising that they are only favored by 6.6 points leading into Game 2.
Yes, this is a credit to the Cavaliers, and the fantastic overall postseason they have enjoyed up until now. Any team that deploys LeBron James is never, ever truly out of the running.
But it would be easier to argue in their favor if there were any obvious adjustments they could make on Sunday night to avoid a repeat of Game 1. Unfortunately for them, though, those distinct tweaks don’t exist.
Could Kevin Love shoot better around the basket? Yes. Might Kyrie Irving put forth a more efficient offensive effort? Absolutely. Can J.R. Smith, Richard Jefferson, Channing Frye and the rest of Cleveland’s surrounding snipers find a way to break loose from Golden State’s defense and take, then make, more shots than they did in Game 1? Of course.
This, however, is the extent of the adjustment the Cavaliers can hope for: making more shots. Period. And that’s not a good place to be.
Remember, the Warriors blitzed the Cavaliers late while both Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were caroming shots off every which part of the rim. Golden State as a team didn’t even shoot too well from beyond the arc.
It was the Warriors’ supporting cast, not two of their three stars, who won that game on offense, reaching the rim at will and taking advantage of matchups with Irving and Love. And while the Cavaliers can certainly count on Golden State’s role players regressing closer to their mean, they cannot bank on the both, or either, of Curry and Thompson to lay collective shooting eggs.
In the event they do, though not ideal, the rest of the Warriors have shown they can bring the heat elsewhere, in different ways. And even if they cannot do that all series, one or two games is a perfectly reasonable streak—especially when both outings, in this case, would be coming at home.
And worse, one of Curry and Thompson will more likely than not go off in Game 2. The Cavaliers did a great job of denying them the ball and open looks in Game 1, but the Warriors will presumably counter with a ton of off-ball motion that mucks up Cleveland’s previous defensive schemes.
Furthermore, the Cavaliers cannot assume they will even sustain Thursday’s performance, let alone build upon it. Neither Irving nor Love will improve as a defender.
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue will have to start tinkering with the rotation to include more of Frye, Matthew Dellavedova and Iman Shumpert if he wishes to make headway on the less glamorous end. And he cannot do that without sacrificing a bit of the team’s offensive efficiency, which can prove costly against a squad like the Warriors, even when you exhibit the best of defensive efforts.
This matchup is just terrible overall for the Cavaliers. They don’t look like a real NBA Finals threat when they play the Warriors. And, naturally, Game 2 shouldn’t be viewed any differently.
The Pick: Warriors (-6.5)
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