CLEVELAND -- With the task of winning for an entire organization and the hopes and dreams of the fan base riding on every shot, rebound and pass, trust among players and coaches is of paramount importance in the NBA Finals.
Despite struggles on both sides of the court against the Golden State Warriors over the first two games of the 2017 NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers remain confident in everyone on the floor and in the locker room.
“I think we have all trusted each other,” Cavaliers small forward LeBron James said after Tuesday’s practice at Quicken Loans Arena.
“We have all been in position where we trust each other out on the floor. Whoever is on the floor has to do their job, and we trust that they will do their job. So we look forward, like I said, to whatever our coaching staff has planned for us.”
For the second straight year, the Cavaliers returned to Quicken Loans Arena in an 0-2 hole against the Warriors in the NBA Finals.
The Cavaliers fell into the 0-2 deficit with a 132-113 loss to the Warriors in Game 2, which was played in front of a capacity crowd of 19,596 raucous fans at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, Sunday night.
“We just want to continue to play how we did in Game 2,” James said. “I thought we were much more physical. We had bodies on bodies, and we have to do that against those guys because if we let them run free, then they are even more dangerous.”
The increase in pace of play helped the Cavaliers generate more shots, and also, raised their level of productivity in multiple phases on offense in Game 2.
The Cavaliers knocked down 45 of their 100 looks, which was markedly better than the 30-of-86 performance in Game 1.
Additionally, the Cavaliers handed out 12 more assists (27) and held a 60-40 advantage in interior scoring after getting outscored, 56-30, in the paint during the Game 1 loss.
“If we do a good job of not turning the ball over and forcing turnovers like we did in Game 2, that will put us in a lot better position as well and just continue to get contesting their shots,” James said. “They do make a lot of contested shots, and some of those we can live with, but some of the ones that we can’t live with or we don’t have a hand in or we give them open looks or things of that nature or messing up on communication on some of our defensive sets.
“We have a great game plan, and if can follow that for the full 48 minutes, then we give ourselves a great chance to win.”
In order for them to make a similar comeback after overcoming deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 against the Warriors last year, the Cavaliers will need production from players other than “The Big Three” of James, point guard Kyrie Irving and power forward Kevin Love, who have carried the team’s efforts through the first two games of the series.
“Our team overall, I just think that we all have to play better, and we will,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. “I know coming out Game 3, it’s not just LeBron, it’s our whole team. We all have to play better, and we will.”