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Cavaliers, Big 3 have little left to really say about NBA Finals mess

By Joe Vardon • Jun 6, 2017 at 6:30 PM

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Two games into these lopsided Finals, no one really knows what to say about the Cavaliers.

Or to them.

The Warriors are crushing them by a combined 41 points through two games, with the series set to shift to Cleveland for Game 3 at 9 p.m. Wednesday.

And so, after the Cavs were beaten 132-113 in Game 2 on Sunday, a poor soul asked LeBron James if the loss meant they, you know, just really have to defend home court now.

James said: "Well, are you a smart guy? ... If we don't defend home court, then what happens?"

Kevin Love, somehow, was asked roughly the same thing, if Game 3 was "pivotal' now. Because, really, if this next one doesn't work out, there's always Game 4 (no team has come back from 3-0 in the playoffs).

"Of course," Love offered. "Being down 0-2, going back home, we have to take care of business. We have to defend our home court, and we are in the same position that we were in last year, and going into Cleveland we're going to need to make it a tough environment for them. And it definitely is a must win, yeah."

It is true, the Cavs trailed the Warriors 2-0 at this point in the 2016 Finals. But times are inarguably different, and more dire, for Cleveland.

Golden State didn't have Kevin Durant then, who is dominating this series (as is Stephen Curry, unlike last season). Durant has scored 71 points so far, while Curry has added 60 and is coming off a triple double.

In last year's Finals, Cleveland's worst game was Game 2 -- a draining, 33-point defeat. This time, the Cavs played markedly better and the Warriors committed 20 turnovers, and still won by 19.

"As much as the comparison wants to be drawn from last year to this year, this is a totally different team," Kyrie Irving said. "There is no comparison even though we're down 0-2 going back home. It's a different series."

The Cavs can try to change the lineup -- maybe start Iman Shumpert over J.R. Smith. They can attempt to slow the game down (coach Tyronn Lue has resisted this, vehemently).

As James said Sunday night the Cavs needed to do things "I don't want to say differently, because you work so hard to get to this point, but make a couple of changes to see if we can be a lot better defensively and offensively.

"We forced them to 20 turnovers and they still beat us pretty good, so we got to be much better," James said.

And there it is, the only thing that can really be said for the Cavs. They have to do what they do much better than they've done it so far in these Finals.

Cleveland's gotten virtually nothing from anyone outside of the Big 3. And while James (28.5 ppg; 13 rpg; 11 apg) Love (21 ppg; 14 rpg) and Irving (21.5 ppg) have carried the Cavs, they've all had their own sins in games 1 and 2. James coughed up eight turnovers, while Love shot poorly in Game 1 and Irving the same on Sunday.

"Looking at the film after Game 1, a lot of things were telling," Love said. "Tonight it's easy to say we can look at the film and make adjustments, but overall we just -- as an entire unit, we need to play better. And I think we are capable of doing that.

"And if going home to Cleveland and playing in front of our crowd isn't enough for you, then you might as well go home. So I think we will be ready to go."

What else can be said?


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