My mailbag was getting a bit thin this week with the majority of players and executives fully immersed in the offseason, so I decided to do a running diary for Game 2 which will be continued throughout the series. So here are my musings on NBA Finals Game 2 from pregame to postgame and everything that happens in between in real-time. Enjoy.
6:32 PM ET: Just wanted to run through a few of my initial thoughts on Game 2:
– I think LeBron might need to take 60 shots tonight if the Cavs want to win or at least to keep the game close.
-The Warriors’ only responsibility now is to just limit the damage LeBron does single-handedly. If LeBron scores under 40 points, it more than likely means the Warriors have won.
-It’s irresponsible how David Griffin couldn’t find literally anyone else to play backup point guard. Dellavedova was like the third-best player on his St. Mary’s team, he’s a fringe NBDL player at best. The Cavs would’ve been better off doing the NBA yearly ritual of a team trading for Ramon Sessions.
-The Warriors have already shown us that they’re not going to double-team LeBron and will just let him get his. Even with Kyrie out, I believe this still continues. The Warriors don’t want the Cavs three-point shooters to get open shots and get hot throughout the game, and by doubling LeBron they open the door to this happening. The Warriors will let LeBron get his 30-plus points and lockdown the wings and the paint and make the Cavs’ role players be the difference in whether they win or lose.
-Also, the city of Cleveland is cursed and there’s just no other explanation to all this bad luck.
6:52 PM ET: Shoutout to David Lingmerth, who just won the Memorial Tournament in a three-hole playoff against former U.S. Open champ Justin Rose. This was Lingmerth’s first career win on the PGA Tour. David Lingmerth is also of Swedish descent, and Sweden’s national flags colors are yellow and blue. Just another reason why Golden State will win Game 2.
7:02 PM ET: It took Jimmy Kimmel two minutes to make a Riley Curry reference, which isn’t surprising and I’m expecting so many more as the night goes on per usual. (Meanwhile, Brian Windhorst weeps while reading his Twitter mentions.)
7:10 PM ET: This “LeBron and Steph being born in the same hospital” bit needs to end. We get it, it’s a huge coincidence.
7:14 PM ET: Steve Harvey just guaranteed a Cavaliers victory tonight. Alright, I guess we can shut it down and go home. Good news is now I can flip to Game of Thrones instead of watching the Finals.
7:27 PM ET: Jimmy Butler just beat Jimmy Kimmel is some type of mashup of “pop-a-shot” which included a dunk tank. He just keeps adding to his resume and why he deserves a max contract this summer, because GM’s know how relevant talk show quasi-basketball based competitions are compared to the NBA game.
7:31 PM ET: Just saw another replay of Kyrie fracturing his kneecap last game. My honest medical opinion is that his legs are made of glass or have been put together with duct tape.
7:44 PM ET: Watching the pregame, I’ve surmised that Wade could easily take over Brian Windhorst’s job and ESPN wouldn’t lose a beat.
7:47 PM ET: Matthew Dellavedova is officially starting in a real-life NBA Finals. This is a travesty against the sport of basketball and against humanity at large.
7:48 PM ET: So this means that Delly is guarding Steph or Klay to open the game. David Blatt, go home you’re drunk.
8:01 PM ET: Raise your hand if you miss the Black Eyed Peas’ “This is Awesome” song opening playoff games? Oh, no one does? That’s what I thought. But if you do, please go walk in front of traffic.
8:03 PM ET: I know Carlos Santana is a great guitar player, but doesn’t not physically singing the National Anthem defeat the whole exercise?
8:09 PM ET: Mark Jackson looks thrilled announcing this game now that the Warriors winning the series is inevitable.
8:12 PM ET: Golden State goes up 2-0, might not surrender this lead the rest of the game.
8:15 PM ET: Cleveland offensive recap thus far: LeBron iso, LeBron iso, LeBron iso, LeBron iso.
8:18 PM ET: Cleveland lucks out that Klay Thompson picks up his second foul. Who could’ve predicted that Dellevadova on Klay would yield nine points in four minutes? Believing in Delly in that defensive matchup is like still believing Global Warming is a hoax.
8:22 PM ET: First commercial break recap: The Cavs have no secondary scoring and it shows; even if LeBron goes for 40 points, I don’t know where the other 60-65 points they’ll need to win will come from. The Warriors are in complete control, but are being a bit wild. It looks like they know they’re going to walk over the Cavs. If they would settle down and get quality shots each possession they might be up by 10 right now.
8:28 PM ET: Leandro Barbosa straight out of the time machine from 2006 and in peak Phoenix Suns form hits a three and Warriors extend the lead. I might need a CT scan, but Barbosa would probably be the second-best player on the floor for the Cavs right now.
8:35 PM ET: LeBron just subbed out for the final minute of the first quarter. I didn’t really expect him to play 48 minutes, but I kind of expected him to play 48 minutes.
8:37 PM ET: I think I may be the only person who wants to see Joe Harris in this game besides his parents and Tony Bennett.
8:40 PM ET: 20-20 at the end of a very uneventful first quarter. LeBron has 10 points already, right on schedule. What do you think the odds were that LeBron wouldn’t be the Cavs’ leading scorer tonight? 1 million/1? 1 billion/1?
8:43 PM ET: Marreese Speights‘s next pass will be his first. He’s the human equivalent of a black hole.
8:48 PM ET: Every time the Cavs go without a LeBron shot attempt on offense it’s like a wasted possession.
8:49 PM ET: Klay has 16 points in nine minutes. Dellavedova has been guarding him for the majority of it. This outcome was so predictable, why is it that a highly paid professional basketball coach couldn’t foresee this happening? David, your rebuttal?
8:55 PM ET: Steph didn’t need to return to the game until 6:24 remaining in the quarter. This is so telling of how little Steve Kerr thinks of the Cavs, and how reliable the Warriors’ bench is.
8:59 PM ET: Game of Thrones is about to commence, but as tempting as it is to change the channel, I remain committed to this running diary. Although, I probably could just write the rest of this using my Twitter timeline as a guide, hmm…..
9:00 PM ET: James Jones getting fiery hot, ladies and gentleman. That’s why this guy has been to five straight NBA Finals.
9:05 PM ET: Cavs up seven with three minutes left in the half. I’m officially surprised that this is happening. Also just saw the Ant-Man trailer again, and I think we’re making too many superhero movies when we tap Paul Rudd to be the lead man in one of them. That sarcastic and witty humor of his will take down any enemies.
9:08 PM ET: Steph just hit his first three-pointer of the game at the 2:16 mark in the second quarter, so we can all exhale now.
9:12 PM ET: aaaaand the lead is gone.
9:19 PM ET: Cavs lead the Warriors at half, 47-45. I guess it was very hyperbolic of me to assume the worst and predict that the Cavs would be taken out to the woodshed and beaten senseless in this series. I mean, the Cavs do have the best player on the planet, so remaining competitive in a playoff game doesn’t seem like a tall task.
I like the way the Cavs have rebounded and regrouped in this game, as they’re playing physical and limiting mistakes as best they can with guys like Delly, J.R. and Jones getting big minutes. It also doesn’t hurt that Steph has been ice cold.
The Warriors have started relatively slow, similar to last game. Only this time they aren’t facing a double-digit deficit while LeBron and Kyrie share the court. The Cavs must withstand the impending outburst the Warriors still have in them, because it hasn’t happened yet. LeBron is the great equalizer and if the Cavs can keep it close throughout the second half, it may come down to the last possession in the fourth quarter yet again.
9:36 PM ET: Dellavedova turns the ball over. Amazingly he’s still getting minutes in this game. He must have some major dirt on David Blatt and is blackmailing him for playing time.
9:48 PM ET: Mozgov is living at the line right now, and that’s probably the first time anyone has ever said that. He’s absolutely tormenting the Warriors inside. This is comparable to Ivan Drago’s assault on Apollo Creed.
9:51 PM ET: Warriors look like they’re way too concerned with what they’re missing on Game of Thrones right now. Cavs taking it to them, yet it’s only a six-point game.
9:54 PM ET: If you’re an Australian in the NBA, are you obligated to grow a gross unkempt beard?
9:57 PM ET: Egregious basket interference call on Shaun Livingston. NBA competition committee needs to review this rule and make changes. Either make this a reviewable play or get rid of the rule like in FIBA.
10:00 PM ET: Just took a peek at the box score, and everyone on the Warriors but Klay is having a horrible game. Only down six though…
10:04 PM ET: LOL. Mo Speights. Words cannot describe the comedy of that last play. Why Iggy is passing to Speights and letting him run the break is mystifying. (Doug Collins puts hands on head)
10:09 PM ET: Klay Thompson gets buckets. (28 points in 30 minutes thus far)
10:11 PM ET: (me ignoring the four points Delly just got because I hate him)
10:19 PM ET: Steph Curry right now is colder than the lifeless blood that runs through all of the White Walkers in Westeros.
10:21 PM ET: Interpreting what qualifies as a flagrant foul is more arbitrary than Roger Goodell’s oversight of punishments for NFL suspensions.
10:29 PM ET: Maybe it’s not really the Warriors night. They can’t sustain anything and everyone besides Klay is cold. Kudos to the Cavs’ defense for locking down and not giving up any easy shots. Warriors only have 66 points so far. Wow. Still got plenty of game left though. (5:47 remaining, Cavs up seven)
10:35 PM ET: Refs leaving a clear imprint on this game, and that’s never a good thing. LeBron getting calls because he’s LeBron.
10:36 PM ET: Dagger three-pointer from He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Don’t know why I just compared LeBron to Voldemort?
10:43 PM ET: Steph is coming alive, and this game isn’t over yet. Also helps that J.R. is being foolish and playing Hack-A-Steph, because we all know that strategy typically doesn’t succeed.
10:48 PM ET: If J.R. Smith‘s basketball IQ was his real-life IQ he’d be declared intellectually disabled.
10:50 PM ET: This series is amazing. I’m totally okay with watching a re-airing of Game of Thrones after it ends. (Cavs up two w/ball and 39 seconds left)
10:52 PM ET: Steph Curry the GAWD. How does Cleveland’s defense breakdown so horribly that Steph gets a wide open layup to tie the game? Also Steve Kerr not calling a TO was key to that happening.
10:53 PM ET: OT part deux. I’m about this life.
10:56 PM ET: Steph is most likely going to erupt in this overtime and everyone in Cleveland will cry themselves to sleep. Cleveland is the Sansa Stark of sports cities.
10:58 PM ET: Shumpert hits a three and now the Cavs have eclipsed the amount of points they scored in overtime on Thursday.
11:04 PM ET: Draymond evaporates the Cleveland OT lead to just one point, and we’re shaping up for another crazy finish. This doesn’t really need to be said, but Cavs tying it up at 1-1 and heading back to Cleveland is much better than falling down 2-0 with their backs up against the wall.
11:06 PM ET: Tony Brothers will be mandated by the league after this game to go to an optometrist and get his eyes checked after missing that Iguodala hack on LeBron.
11:12 PM ET: The Warriors have possibly played their worst game of the entire season yet are leading the Cavs by one point with 29 seconds left in OT.
11:14 PM ET: Riley. Curry.
11:15 PM ET: If the Cavs win this game, Matthew Dellavedova will never have to buy another drink in Cleveland ever again.
11:18 PM ET: “and now his watch has ended” Game 2 final score: 95-93, Cavs win. LeBron only had 39/16/11.
11:25 PM ET: Another instant classic and ridiculously entertaining game. I don’t know why we expected anything less, even without Kyrie. You have to give it up to LeBron and the Cavaliers. They came out of the gate and defended and stuck to their gameplan. Pounding the rock inside with Mozgov and LeBron and slowing the pace. They surrendered a big lead in the fourth, but all that we’ll remember is that they got the W.
We’re tied at 1-1 and heading to Cleveland, and as long as LeBron is playing at this incredibly high level that we’ve been so accustomed to seeing, this series will continue to surprise us. I don’t think we can expect the Warriors to play this bad and will certainly regroup. Steve Kerr will undoubtedly make sure his team is ready for Game 3, and they’ll have to steal one in Cleveland to maintain their home-court advantage.
Golden State is still the immense favorite in my mind, even after watching Game 2. The Cavs embraced the underdog role and just wanted it more than the Warriors tonight.
11:30 PM ET: By the way, it totally makes sense that I unabashedly hated on Matthew Dellavedova, only for him to obviously be the difference in the game and make me look like a total idiot. However, I still think he’s awful and the Cavs could do much better than having him as their backup point guard. But that argument is getting a bit thin.
11:48 PM ET: Steph is at the podium and Riley Curry is nowhere to be seen, which is expected after a loss. But I’ll take that as my cue to wrap this up. I’m going to skip the LeBron presser because all his answers are corny as hell. Deuces diary, I’ll talk to you later.
Don’t forget to get email me any questions you have regarding the rest of the NBA Finals or the upcoming draft and offseason at firstname.lastname@example.org