By: Kenny Doyle
This isn’t the NBA Finals most people were expecting. Going into this year’s NBA Finals many were expecting a battle for the ages. They were already naming it “The Trilogy” or “The ThreeMatch”, but it doesn’t look like it will need a name like that because all people will be calling it is “embarrassing”. The Cavaliers haven’t even won 1 game in the series to this point and if you ask anybody, they’ll tell you it’s because the Warriors are just unbeatable. They’re just TOO good. The NBA is doomed and no one has any chance of taking down the all mighty Warriors…….. but that’s wrong.
Believe it or not, the Warriors were beaten 15 times during the regular season. They actually didn’t go 82-0. The Warriors are obviously great, but you can still beat them. A common response to that would likely be: “They weren’t trying in the regular season”. However, there was one game that they were definitely trying and lost. One team that beat them that they without a doubt wanted to beat. Cleveland. In their first game against Cleveland since blowing a 3-1 lead to them in the NBA Finals, the Warriors lost on a Kyrie Irving game winner on Christmas, arguably the biggest stage in the NBA regular season. So it seems like the Cavaliers can beat the Warriors when the Warriors are trying. So what’s happening in the NBA Finals? The Warriors aren’t “too good”. The Cavaliers haven’t show up.
The Cavaliers have played absolutely atrocious basketball so far in the NBA Finals. Game 3 was the game to win for Cleveland. A six point lead, late, at home, and they blew it. A lot of the talk after the game was “If Cleveland can’t win THAT game, this is a joke”. That game that Cleveland “should have won”, featured them shooting 12-44 from 3. THAT is a joke. That is what people should be scoffing at. The focus is all on Golden State and they’re dominance. The truth is that the reason that Cleveland hasn’t won a game is because they have put forth an embarrassing effort so far.
Kevin Love shot 1-9 from the field in game 3 and 1-6 from three, Deron Williams still hasn’t even made ONE SHOT IN THE ENTIRE SERIES, Kyle Korver has turned himself into Marcus Smart from the 3 point line, Tristan Thompson got 3, YES. T-H-R-E-E rebounds in game 3, but no. The Warriors are too good everybody. Don’t read into these numbers at all. Don’t think that the Cavaliers could do more, and just know that the Warriors are too good. Can you detect the heavy sarcasm present in the last 3+ sentences? Kevin Love in particular deserves to be lambasted. He’s supposedly the Cavaliers 3rd star and if the Cavaliers were going to compete in this series, he was going to have to play like the All-Star player the Cavaliers thought they were trading Andrew Wiggins for.
Hope was high for Love. Everyone said how much better he was fitting in this season and pointing out how his numbers jumped from last years postseason to this years. So far in this series, Love is shooting 17-55 from the field. 30.9%. He also shot 1-6 from 3 in game 3. He couldn’t be playing much worse. Cleveland had no chance to win if Kevin Love was going to play like that. Honestly. Love might be playing his way out of Cleveland with his Finals performance thus far. At this point, it would be stunning if Kevin Love and LeBron James are both still in a Cavs jersey by next year’s season opener after The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor pointed out this week that the latter is actually in play.
It is baffling that with the Cavaliers down 3-0, no one is ripping the Cavs for the embarrassing performance their roster has put up. Kyrie Irving and LeBron James have been sensational, but it takes more than 2 people to beat an all time team like Golden State. The Cavaliers could probably get away with only having just two 20 plus scorers in the Finals if there other players gave them something, but go back and read the start of the 4th paragraph again. THEY ARE GETTING NOTHING!
Going into this year’s Finals the Cavaliers were ranked worse on defense, and I thought that would do them in, but it turns out it’s their cast of role players that have doomed them. It turns out that’s all Kevin Love is. I don’t think anyone would have guessed the Cavaliers offense would be failing them. It’s hard to say that looking at the raw PPG, but you have to look at the individual performances. Golden State is amazing, but don’t fool yourself. The Cavs have 5 players that have made an All-Star team, and 3 that made it this year. Only 1 less than the Warriors have for both. The Cavaliers have enough to compete in the series. They just didn’t show up to it.
Photo: (USA Today)