Game 2 of the NBA finals in the Oracle Arena, Lebron James sat on the bench with his head down clearly out of frustration. Forty seconds left in the clock seemed like an eternity as Golden State continued to pound Cleveland over and over again. As the lead ballooned all the way to 33 points and finally ended the massacre, to what have been a competitive first half.
Beyond the brilliance of a cerebral basketball mind, with all his greatness, Lebron James is still looking for answers against the Warriors. For 7 consecutive times the Cavaliers failed to get a win, as Golden State continued to give them wrinkles each and every time. With a healthy team (Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving) James, had run out of viable excuses for not winning. Sometimes when you dig deep into the problem, you get to see the root of the problem. Last year finals came out a much competitive one with GSW escaping game one in Overtime and the Cavs took out game two again in Overtime with just 2 points. Timothy Movgoz and Matthew Delladova came out a revelation with their swag and gritty plays, they played so much better defense. The Cavs had done something that series that had Steve Kerr pushing for a small ball lineup in Game 4… they made the Warriors uneasy.
However, this series came out a disappointment for the first two games. We all know Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving are no Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, and they have to think that way. Kyrie dribbles the ball too much and as great Kevin Love is with his long passes, he wasn’t really spectacular with short and easy ones. They had a lot of isolation plays that leads to Andrew Bogut and the Warriors big men waiting around the rim.
They move less in defense and their offense came out predictable. Long before James came back to Cleveland, Kyrie and Love isn’t accustomed to winning, they are more of a highlight reel and Stat guys. Lebron is trying to change them, pushing them hard to become winners. They have responded magnificently throughout the regular season and down to the playoffs. But when Golden State played superbly well in defense and made them uncomfortable they just went back to their security blankets and played more one on ones. Truth be told, they need to understand what it takes to make their team better. Everything is not about stats or numbers, it’s always about the little things that makes a difference. Looking at the Warriors they have a lot of facilitators in Draymond Green, Shaun Livingston, Andre Iguodala and Harrison Barnes for Cleveland they only have James and Delladova.
Down two games, Cleveland is building a hole that is going to be hard to crawl up to. If they want to win, it needs to start within them. Finding the root of the problem is easy, executing them with their egos check is going to be a hard thing to do. The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender. Lebron James, won’t sit this down well but the sense of urgency needs to rub off also with Kyrie and Kevin.
In a good note, I think Iman Shumpert’s hair is the biggest adjustment of the finals so far.