CLEVELAND -- Once again, the Cleveland Cavaliers find themselves looking for a Game 3 win to get back into the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.
The Cavaliers fell into the 0-2 deficit for the second straight year with a 132-113 loss 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, and Cleveland’s LeBron James is doing what it will take to deliver a win in Game 3.
“I don’t remember how I felt last year being down, 2-0,” James said. “That’s last year and I don’t even know the feeling anymore, so just mentally, I’m strengthening my mind and getting my mind ready and focused on what tomorrow’s going to bring, and so, I look forward to it.
“It doesn’t change anything. We’ve got to protect home. It starts with (Wednesday). One game at a time, one possession at a time, and cleaning up on some of the miscues that we have had in the first couple games and not have as many.”
Despite James matching Los Angeles Lakers great Earvin “Magic” Johnson for the most triple-doubles in NBA Finals history (eight), the Warriors set a new NBA record with their 14th straight postseason victory.
The Warriors have not lost in the postseason since their three straight setbacks against the Cavaliers in Games 5-7 of the 2016 NBA Finals.
The Cavaliers got 29 points, 11 rebounds, 14 assists, three steals and one blocked shot from James, as well as 27 and 19 points from power forward Kevin Love and point guard Kyrie Irving, respectively, but that was not enough to combat Golden State’s offense.
Small forward Kevin Durant (33 points, 13 rebounds) and point guard Stephen Curry (32, 10, 11 assists) led the way for Golden State. Shooting guard Klay Thompson tallied 22 points and despite foul trouble for much of the game, power forward Draymond Green added 12 points, nine of which came on three-pointers, to go along with six rebounds, six assists and one steal.
“It takes a mental toll just when you lose,” James said. “No matter if it’s a series or game or whatever the case may be, in the postseason, any loss always takes a mental toll on you.
“How can you refocus your mind? How can you refuel it to understand that, at the end of the day, it is a series? So you’ve got to try to focus on the next game and focus on your job and what you can do to help your team be successful going into the following game.”
Although James is talking about refocusing his mind on the task at hand, one thing will not change, his attacking style of play on the court.
“I play my game and I don’t change it,” James said. “No matter what the series is, I don’t change it. What the course of the day is, I don’t change it. What the score is, I just play my game.
“My game is being aggressive. My game is getting my guys involved. My game is getting into the paint, shooting some outside shots when they’re available. Itis what it is, so it’s not going to change because if in a series, I’m down 2-0 or up 2-0, it’s going to be the same.”