After a gritty performance in Game 2, the Cavaliers are returning to Ohio with one thing in mind: to protect their home floor and win Game 3 and 4 of 2015 NBA Finals. But can they do it? Can the defense and LeBron James carry this team to basketball immortality?
Not if the Golden State Warriors have something to say.
The Warriors and Stephen Curry will definitely look to bounce back from their offensive woes and regain their home-court advantage. Can they put an offensive show against the gritty Cavs? Or will they hit the slump once more?
Before trying to predict the outcome, here are three things you should expect to see in Game 3.
More Warriors offense
First of all, what happened in Game 2 with the Warriors offense won’t happen next game. Forget 40% from the field and most importantly, forget 23% from the Great Beyond. Not to mention Curry’s 2-of-15.
Coach Steve Kerr will find a way to get the offense going. That’s what he did in the Conference semi-finals after Game 3 against a similar defensive-style team and that’s what he will most likely do in the two games in Cleveland. No more 16 assists and no more 200-or-so passes per game. Golden State will eventually get back to their old habits sharing the rock and averaging 25 assists and over 300 passes per game.
Furthermore, the MVP Stephen Curry will take all the chat about how Matthew Dellavedova stopped him personally so expect from him a big performance in Ohio. Sir Charles Barkley agrees explaining in a Bleacher Report Radio interview: “Steph Curry will kill that kid (Dellavedova) in the overall scheme of things. He just didn’t make shots last night, and I think everybody needs to slow their roll talking about him. Steph Curry just missed some shots.”
The Same Cavs Defense
Cleveland will continue on with the strategy implemented in Game 1 and 2: slowing the pace down, covering all the floor and playing great defense. The team has been consistent in doing this throughout the playoffs.
The Cavs are second in points allowed per game (93.6) and opponent’s field-goal percentage (41.3%) and first in opponent’s three-point percentage (28.2%). They are also second in rebounding (47.3 rebounds per game) and offensive rebounding (12.3). In the NBA Finals, they forced the Warriors to shoot the long-range ineffectively (29%, 18-62 3PT).
More of the same in the next couple of game? You bet! “It’s the Grit Squad that we have. It’s not cute at all. If you are looking for us to play sexy, cute basketball, then that’s not us. That’s not us right now. Everything is tough,”James described his team.
Let’s Get Loud!
The Warriors fans can brag with having the loudest arena in the NBA. They made it hard for every away team coming into Oracle Arena. Now it’s Cleveland’s time. LeBron already started the war making an appeal to Cavs fans, challenging them to be as loud as they can be.
“We can be much louder than any fan base in this league. I know they’re getting ready and I can’t wait to see them,” he said at the post-game press conference.
Are you ready Cleveland?
The series isn’t over, that’s a fact and that’s why the Warriors have every chance of stealing a game away from the Cavs in Ohio. Whether it will be Game 3 or Game 4, Golden State should regain home-court advantage and force at least a Game 6. Beyond that, everything is possible.
By Florian Gheorghe