The Cavaliers are heading back to Cleveland trailing the Warriors 2-0 in these NBA Finals after Golden State prevailed in Game 2 on Sunday night by the final of 132-113.
Let's check our final '3 Shots' of the night:
1. Will the Cavs make lineup/rotation changes before Game 3?
Specifically looking at J.R. Smith here. He's averaging just 6 points in this postseason (didn't score at all tonight) and is a complete non-factor in these Finals. If he's not hitting shots, I'll settle for him playing some defense. Instead he committed not one, but two fouls on 3-point shot attempts this evening.
Last season, J.R. averaged just under 12 points per game in the playoffs. I don't know if the answer is starting Iman Shumpert or Kyle Korver, or what. But the Cavs have to find better combinations out on the floor right now.
The other problem is Tristan Thompson. He's been ineffective in back-to-back games. When I say ineffective, it's not just lack of points, but it's lack of rebounds, hustle plays, etc. All the things that make TT so valuable to the Cavs.
When Curry, Durant, Thompson, Green, and Livingston are all scoring in double figures, the Cavs can't be just LeBron and one or two other members of the Big 3. This will be a short series if that's the case.
2. Third quarters are where the Warriors are putting the game away
The numbers are staggering. Golden State is +24 in the third quarter over the Cavs in the first two games of this series. They were +13 in Game 1, turning an 8 points halftime lead into a 21 point runaway by the end of the 3rd. Tonight, the Warriors were +11, as they took a 14 point lead into the fourth.
The Cavs went through a stretch tonight of more than 3 and a half minutes without a point in the third. LeBron James looked like he ran out of gas by the close of the quarter.
3. The Cavs have always played best with their backs to the wall...but
This is an entirely different Golden State Warriors team with Kevin Durant. If the Cavaliers are going to duplicate what we saw last year, they'll have to figure out how to slow the Warriors' lightning scoring pace while getting other people involved in the scoring. They can't beat Golden State playing 'first team to score 60 in a half or 120 in the game, wins.' The Warriors have way too much firepower. Making adjustments between now and Wednesday's Game 3 will be a big test for Ty Lue.
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