Cleat Geeks

Cavs Show Up In Game 3, Series Now 2-1

1964 Cleveland Browns NFL Championship Ring-500x500Suffering with the home team has become the norm for Cleveland natives. Blind allegiance to the Cavs, Indians, and Browns is your birthright growing up in Northeast Ohio. Cleveland has had some competitive teams, but have failed in all three major sports to win a championship since the 1964 Cleveland Browns.

So what could’ve been going through the minds of the collective fan base going into Wednesday night’s game? I know everyone roots for the home team, but did they really believe their team would respond? Anyone who listens to sports media has been subjected to brain washing over the past few days. The Cavs were left for dead by the public at large. Analysts and pundits were talking sweep.

I didn’t buy it. Any team with LeBron James would not be swept in the Finals. Home cooking did the Cavs some good.

JeffersonLoveLeBron and Kyrie combined for 62. Richard Jefferson filled in wonderfully for Kevin Love, which was great to see. Jefferson is an Arizona native and a University of Arizona product. His great defense and scrappy play were the perfect ingredient for Cleveland. JR Smith dropped 5 bombs and totalled 20 points. The Cavs scored the first nine points of the game and never looked back. The Warriors made a few runs to cut the lead to single digits, but the game was never really in doubt.

The Warriors didn’t show in Game 3. After two dominant performances at home, they played like garbage. The Cavs once again contained the Splash Bros. Steph Curry had a very quiet 19 points. Draymond “please don’t kick me” Green had 6 points on 2 for 8 shooting. Whether Klay Thompson was getting a knee to the thigh or an elbow to the face, he was ineffective as well.

The Cavs did a great job of making adjustments (see my suggested adjustments in “Warriors Dismantle Cavs in Game 2 of NBA Finals” on cleatgeeks.com). Can they sustain their adjustments and continue stifling the Warriors in Game 4? Will Kyrie and JR Smith continue hitting shots at a high clip? Will Ty Lue continue playing big lineups in small doses and control the boards? Will Tristan Thompson continue to rule the paint?kyrie-irvingcleveland-cavaliers

If Cleveland does in fact sustain their play from Game 3 they can and should win Game 4. The problem is, will they really be able to beat the Warriors three out of the next four games? Regardless of whether or not they hold serve at home, they still have to win either Game 5 or Game 7 in Oakland. These are all tall orders.

LeBron James did exactly what he had to do last night. His legacy could not afford a sweep at this stage of his career. He had to play big. He had to lead his squad to a win. He did both. Whether or not the criticism of LeBron is unfair, dropping to 2-5 in the Finals and adding a second sweep to the five losses would have been damaging.

Game 4 will ultimately determine how long this series goes. If the Warriors go up 3-1, the series will most likely end in Game 5 at Oracle. If the Cavs tie the series at two apiece, we are in for a fight. It would be nice as fans if we could get a game that is decided by less than ten points.

It would also be nice if we could see the MVP play like an MVP for at least one game. It is extremely rare for an MVP to make the Finals, win said Finals, and not be named Finals MVP. I’m willing to say that as of now I have no frickin clue who the Warriors MVP would be should they win the series. They have not had a single guy on the roster who has played solid for all three games.StephCurryLightsGlow

I’m really hoping for a better brand of ball to close out this season. I have been quick to defend the league when the style of play is called into question (see article “Modern Era of The NBA: Bombs Away” on cleatgeeks.com). I defend the league when former players call the talent “watered down” (see article “Angry Former NBA Players Call League “Watered Down” on cleatgeeks.com). If the Finals continue to come off as stale and lacking competition, we can all be assured more criticism will follow.

I don’t know how much longer I can defend the league if this is the product that is put out.

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