Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, June 6, 2015 at 11:40 AM
THE NBA FINALS - HERE'S OUR GAME 2 PREVIEW AS CAVS LOOK TO "GET EVEN" WITH THE WARRIORS WITHOUT STAR GUARD IRVING ...
PLUS NBA DRAFT NOTES ...AND MORE MLB FUN FACTS
The city of Cleveland - as we all know - has lost some very tough games on the championship level stage whether it be Game 7 of the 1997 World Series when the beloved Indians fell to the then-Florida Marlins in extra innings, then there was the back-to-back AFC Championship Games losses by the Browns to the Denver Broncos in the 1986 and '87 seasons and now you can add Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals to the "hit list".
Hey, Cavaliers, you "made the cut" when it comes to painful finishes in Cleveland sports lore - but we don't know whether to congratulate you or offer up condolences!
Folks, it's one thing to lose a game when your star player - Mr. LeBron James - scored an NBA Finals career-best 44 points - but it's quite another when you get two "last shots" to win in regulation, miss both (see James first and then Iman Shumpert's near-miss from the corner at the regulation buzzer) and then go completely scoreless for all of 10 seconds in overtime while also losing your uber-talented point guard Kyrie Irving with a busted knee cap in a painful 108-100 loss.
And we won't even bring up the fact that Cavaliers-backers - grabbing either 5.5 or 6 points - washed out in that Game 1 loss to the Golden State Warriors and you'd have to rank a loss such as that as one of the most painful in wagering memory ... no?
Okay, so it's onward and upward - here's our NBA Finals Game 2 preview for Sunday night:
NBA FINALS - Game 2: CLEVELAND at GOLDEN STATE - 8 p.m. ET, ABC; Warriors lead series 1-0
By now you know all the pertinent numbers such as the fact the Cavaliers are 0-5 SU (straight-up) in NBA Finals history thanks to that four-game sweep at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs back in 2007 to go along with this past Thursday's Game 1.
You also know that James-led Cavs are 7-6 in playoff series when losing Game 1 - they are 18-2 in those 20 playoff series in which Cleveland copped Game 1 - and now the odds are infinitely higher that the Cavs won't get "mission accomplished" with Friday's MRI of Irving (23 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 blocks in Game 1) showing a major injury that will sideline 'em for the next three-to-four months. Ouch, indeed.
So, the knee-jerk reaction is that James - who attempted 38 field goals and made 18 of 'em in Game 1 - will be asked to play every single possession here in Game 2 after he played an exhaustive 46 minutes (of a possible 53 minutes) the other night but reality says the three-ball shots of J.R. Smith (3-of-13 FG attempts overall in the opener) must fall plus C Tristan Thomas (just 2 points to go along with those 15 rebounds) must get his share of put-back or "garbage points" here or even a 50-point performance by King James may not be enough against the 7.5-point (and growing) favored Warriors.
Gotta say that Golden State didn't even play their "B game" in that series opener as both Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were average at best with a combined 15-of-34 field-goal makes for a composite 47 points as both showed major first-half nerves and we really just witnessed one typical Warriors' scoring spurt when Steve Kerr's crew went on a 20-6 run to take the lead after falling behind by 14 points in the first quarter of play.
Common sense says both Curry and Thompson will be more accurate here - let's see if they both heat up as often is the case at Oracle Arena - and then Cavs' head coach David Blatt simply may not be able to plug all the leaks and it could get scary plus don't forget that G-State reserves Andre Iguodala (15 points) and smooth big man Marreese Speights (8 points in 9 minutes in Game 1) appear to have fresh legs and that could put heat on a Cleveland club that rolls out a "shorter" rotation.
In terms of game strategy, the Warriors want to run and put this game into the 78 rpm speed mode while the Cavs will drain clock, isolate James on one side of the court and hope this is a one- or two-possession game come the final five minutes but we believe Smith must be at/round 20 points here for the Cavs to stay close plus some other X-factor is gonna have to get some big points - can Blatt count on C Timofey Mozgov to get more than the 16 effective points he delivered in Game 1?
Now, here's the Cavaliers-Warriors series in game chart form (and note that all home teams are in CAPS below):
|6-4||GOLDEN ST.||- 5.5||Cleveland||108-100 (OT)|
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will rake in the profits in this year's NBA Finals as we roll on big-time in this post-season! Go online right here or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 each/every day of these NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors and cash in big-time.
NBA DRAFT NOTES
The NBA Draft is set for June 25th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and between now and then we'll comment on who we believe will be the top 10 picks ... it's always subject to change!
- Minnesota - Karl-Anthony Towns, F/C, Kentucky ... The biggest/best upside of anyone in this loaded draft and now he's showing scouts major perimeter range.
- Los Angeles Lakers - Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke ... The Lakers can blow all the smoke they want but they're taking either Towns or Okafor here.
- Philadelphia - D'Angelo Russell, SG, Ohio State ... The Sixers are good at tanking and not so good at winning but this one-and-done Buckeyes' star may change the organization's dreary culture.
- Denver (trade with New York) - Emmanuel Mudiay, China ... The recent rumor mill says Knicks' decision-maker Phil Jackson wants Nuggets' one-guard Ty Lawson and so teams play let's make a deal.
- Orlando - Justise Winslow, SF, Duke ... The Magic have a new coach in Scott Skiles and he's itching to get this college champ into camp.
- Sacramento - Frank Kaminsky, C, Wisconsin ... Everyone has the Kings selecting Kentucky's Willie Cauley-Stein here but not so as gut feel is Sacramento will find a draft day taker for C DeMarcus Cousins and thus allow Kaminsky to start from Day One.
- New York (trade with Denver) - Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky ... Worth the trade down and gamble for the long-lost Knicks. Hmm, Carmelo Anthony, Lawwson and Cauley-Stein ain't a bad nucleus.
- Detroit - Stanley Johnson, F, Arizona ... The Pistons are gonna lose lefty Greg Monroe in free agency and so here's his replacement. Are you happy, Stan Van Gundy?
- Charlotte - Kristaps Porzingis, PF, Latvia ... The Hornets go international for this 6-foot-11 stud with major three-point range.
- Miami - Myles Turner, C, Texas ... The Heat has to turn the page soon as James is long gone and soon too will be Dwayne Wade
BASEBALL FUN FACTS
Can you believe that the Tampa Bay Rays lead the American League in team ERA (3.37) and betcha you couldn't name their starting rotation that includes Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Nathan Karns, Erasmo Ramirez and Alex Colome ...
The Houston Astros continue to hold a big lead in the AL West and former Atlanta slugger Evan Gattis remains a central cog with a team-best 12 HR, 36 RBI and .490 slugging percentage. Is Ned Yost gonna find a spot for 'em on this year's AL All-Star Game roster? ...
Finally, the Chicago Cubs entered their Friday night game in Washington four games over .500 (28-24) but with a minus 4 runs differential and in case you were wondering 3B Kris Bryant already leads the team in RBI with 33 but his 58 Ks in 162 at-bats is scary, isn't it?
NOTE: There's more NBA Finals coverage in the next edition of Jim Sez plus NFL, NBA Draft Notes and MLB action too in these upcoming columns.