Cleveland's Unlikely Heroes Help Grind Out Victory in Game 2
Well, this series just got interesting.
The Finals were already entertaining after an epic overtime thriller in Game 1 that had numerous mind-blowing plays. Then, in Game 2, both teams upped the ante.
When the dust settled, Cleveland' Cavaliers stole a game in Oracle Arena to square the series at a game apiece.
The Cavs played out of their minds and showed the Warriors that the NBA Finals are not easy.
LeBron James put together another superhuman performance and willed his team to victory. His playmaking ability was on display, it seemed, in every possession. And the Warriors, towards the end, looked like they were throwing the kitchen sink at him, hoping that something would work.
Just watch, he did everything:
JR Smith and James Jones are reaping the rewards. Seriously, they have the easiest job in the world.
However, it wasn’t LeBron or any shooter that had the biggest impact, but rather the feisty, undrafted point guard now taking over for Kyrie Irving, Matthew Dellavedova.
Maybe he's an Aussie, but Dellavedova's near his old stomping grounds in NorCal. College hoop fans have seen these sorts of heroics from him many times before.
- Dude's defense was unbelievable. Guarding Stephen Curry is a terrifying and daunting task that'd leave most guards trembling, but Dellavedova took the challenge and made his presence felt. Curry dropped just 19 points on the night and struggled mightily offensively. Dellavedova is the equivalent of that annoying fly that doesn’t go away. He certainly had Curry screaming “help me” a few times.
- Dellavedova committed just three fouls and was able to keep his motor high for 42 minutes. Seriously, this dude never slowed down. Just when you thought he might be getting winded, his energy would spike and Curry never saw the light of day. Golden State was probably wondering where the anti-Dellavedova spray went.
Yeah, the former Gael didn’t score 40+ points or have any amazing highlight reels, but he was the main reason why the MVP was not effective. Hell, even when he wasn’t stopping Curry, he was annoying pretty much everyone else.
In the process, Cleveland punched through that invincible aura the Warriors have built up at Oracle Arena. Now, the question becomew whether the way they won can be duplicated.
Around the NBA, the Warriors are still the favorite:
- The fact that James Jones scored any points at all is news-worthy, but he flat-out torched the Warriors and gave the Cavs' offense a boost. Warrior fans were probably wondering who James Jones even was. Can’t blame them. But, can Cleveland really count on Jones? Not only will Golden State adjust, but it would be a borderline shock if he had a game like this again in the rest of the series.
- LeBron is putting up massive triple-doubles and keeping Cleveland afloat. Will exhaustion set in at some point? Playing 45+ minutes a night while also dictating every possession has to be tiring, even to a freak athlete like LeBron.
- Let’s face it; this was an anomaly-type of game for Stephen Curry. He even said that he won't repeat such a performance. Can the Cavaliers deal with both Splash Brothers?
Golden State has issues to deal with as well, particularly in the offensive rebounding category.
Tristan Thompson is looking like a mini-Dennis Rodman out there and even almost had the game-winning put-back in regulation.
Plus, Golden State's offense has been operating at about 60%, thanks to Klay Thompson and Curry alternating hot and cold. Curry was on in Game 1, but Klay found his offense in Game 2.
That shooting stroke is addictive to watch, isn’t it?
But, both Splash Brothers need to be effective in the same game. The Dubs' offense needs those two dudes to at least be hitting shots for it to be truly locked in.
It's only fitting that Cleveland somehow pulls out a win in one of the toughest arenas in the NBA after such a weird and un-characteristic game for both teams. What made this game even more ridiculous was that the Warriors could have had a second overtime if Marreese Speights just made this wide open dunk:
Welcome to the Speights Jam.
Now, the series shifts over to Cleveland for what's likely to be the most important game of the series.
The Finals could still very well wind up being a stinker if the Warriors just flip a switch, but right now, it's definitely entertaining. 24 hours, folks, take a breather.