Oh, Cleveland. What are we going to do with you? First, we give you the self-proclaimed “King” of modern basketball in 2003, then we watch him cheat on you with a more attractive Miami team and win back-to-back championships. The sport Gods must have been feeling pretty bad for you after a couple of years, because in 2014 you were blessed with LeBron’s return and a promising first-round quarterback, so you should have been good to go… Right?
Well, now it’s 2016, Johnny Manziel looks more like 2011 Charlie Sheen than an NFL quarterback, and for the second straight year, LeBron James and the Cavaliers look utterly outmatched and downright awful in the NBA Finals. So, after a historically dreadful first two games, why is there any hope for Cleveland? It’s a seven game series, ya knuckleheads!
Sure, things went about as bad as they could possibly go in the first two contests, especially game 2, but the Cavaliers still have a chance to tie up the series with a couple home wins. Admittedly, that will be a steep hill to climb given what we’ve seen so far in this series, but it’s not like this Golden State team is some unstoppable juggernaut. As proven by the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Warriors have flaws. The only issue for the Cavaliers is, they have a lot more of them. As much as the Warriors played well in games 1 and 2, the Cavaliers looked void of any signs of life. Any time Richard Jefferson looks like the second best guy on the floor on a team with LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, you have a serious problem.
The main issue for the Cavaliers appears to be the same issue they faced last year: inconsistent play from LeBron James’ supporting cast. This comes as somewhat of a shock given the return of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, but even they have proved to be mediocre at best this series. Things only get worse as you move down the roster; at times you have to question whether Iman Shumpert is even taking any of this seriously.
The Cavalier bench inconsistencies are only magnified when matched up against what has proven to be one of the deeper rosters in NBA history. In Game 1, Curry and Thompson hardly had to lift a finger to secure the win. It seems that no matter who is shooting the ball for Golden State, it almost always finds its way into the net. This is the difference between a team with chemistry and a team with a bunch of good players.
Even if LeBron goes out with 30+ point games the rest of this series, he will only have himself to blame if he loses. He wanted Kyrie and Kevin. He wanted every last member of his supporting cast. He has had nothing but praise for Tyronne Lue. If the Cavaliers lose, there will be tough questions to answer. If they get swept, there will be hell to pay.
A lot of things need to suddenly come together at once for the Cavs to get back in this series, and it all starts with Kyrie Irving. We don’t even know if Love will be able to play yet, and if he doesn’t, this opens up the floor for Irving to come out and have a monster game. The Cavaliers don’t need a LeBron James domination. It would help, but they will get a lot more of a boost if other players step up and pitch in solid efforts. We’ve already seen what happens when it’s just the LeBron James show. Let’s see what happens if other guys can get in on the act tomorrow night at Quicken Loans Arena.