It was a rough night for the Cavaliers.
And for a few moments, it was rough for those of us who cover the team at home and on the road. We got word as Game 2 of the NBA Finals came to a close that LeBron James would not be speaking at the postgame podium after the Cavs 132-113 loss to Golden State.
James had a superb game in the loss, scoring 29 points, dishing out 14 assists, and corralling 10 rebounds. He's now tied with Magic Johnson for the most triple-doubles in NBA Finals history. So why wasn't he going to speak at the podium?
My colleague Dave Chudowsky was among the group of reporters who were able to talk to LeBron in the Cavaliers locker room. Chud asked why LBJ, a 'podium guy,' was choosing not to speak there. "There's a reason," he told Dave.
"Do you want to share?" Chud followed up. "No. It has nothing to do with wins and losses though," replied LeBron.
James told ESPN's Rachel Nichols that apparently he wasn't pleased with how the media schedule has been running over the last few days, so he elected to stay off the podium on Sunday night.
Just spoke to LeBron - issue has nothing to do with his team/the loss, he's been frustrated at how the press conference schedule's been run. https://t.co/sz3nKmq6X0— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) June 5, 2017
So we had that question solved.
Now to the game. The Cavaliers find themselves down 0-2 in the series as the action shifts east to Cleveland for Game 3 on Wednesday. There's no question that Sunday's game saw the Cavs come out with more energy early on. The problem was they couldn't stop Golden State's high-powered attack. The Warriors scored 40 points in the opening quarter, then went +11 on the Wine and Gold (who were wearing black) in the third after the Cavs trailed by just three at the half.
"We made runs – we cut it to four at one point and then they went on quick 9-0 run or 12-0 run," said LeBron. "That’s what they do. That’s what Golden State does. If you make a mistake – we had a turnover, it came from me, and then we had a miscue and the floods opened again."
Just like in Game 1, many of James' teammates were missing in action. Kyrie Irving had a very quiet 19 points on 8-23 shooting. "We have to figure out a way to get him going early," LBJ said of his fellow 'Big 3' member. "He’s been such a big piece of our success the last three years, obviously. We can do better job of getting him going early. He missed some chippies – ones he’s so accustomed to making."
Tristan Thompson has been a total non-factor in this series. He has 8 points and 8 rebounds TOTAL in the first two games. "They’ve been out there talking a lot about trying to keep a body on him, a couple of bodies on him," James noted. "He’s a big piece of our success and they know that, so they have neutralized that in the first two games."
Getting J.R. Smith going would be helpful, too. He's scored a COMBINED three points in these Finals.