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NBA Finals Game 3: A Running Diary

The NBA Finals Running Diary is back by popular demand. Well actually, it’s back because I’m vain and believe you all care about what I’m thinking during the games. Either way we’re back. If you didn’t read the diary from Game 2 please do so, there’s plenty of misinformation and terrible predictions you can hold me to at a later date. But it was also a pretty entertaining read. Anyway, here’s the NBA Finals Game 3 Running Diary. Enjoy.

7:37 PM ET: After going back and re-reading my diary entry from Game 2, I realized I was pretty harsh on Matthew Dellavedova and Cleveland at large for being shortsighted and not believing in them at all. This was a mistake, and one I’d like to atone for right now before we go any further with tonight’s entry.

Dear Cavs fans and Matthew,

I’m stupid. You’re smart. I was wrong. You were right. You’re the best. I’m the worst. You’re very good-looking. I’m not attractive.

Ok, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about a few of my initial thoughts on Game 3.

-Similar to last game I’m predicting a victory for Golden State. I don’t see Steph and the rest of the Warriors crew, sans Klay, continuing their offensive slump into Game 3. The Warriors know they need to respond after losing the last game and what better way to do it than in front of the Cavs’ home fans.

-LeBron will continue to be LeBron and put up historic stats, but shoot at a low percentage.

-The Cavaliers still need to find more secondary scoring out of their starters or bench players. It’s not likely they can hold the Warriors under 100 points in consecutive games and Steph to 2-15 shooting from deep.

-Warriors must get out to a quick start. They’ve yet to jump out and take control of either game so far, and if they can come out of the gate hot tonight it, they’ll be able to take the crowd out of the game early and put more on the shoulders of LeBron.

-I’m undoubtedly going to make fun of Dellavedova again during this diary, and if he continues to makes me look dumb I’m probably just going to retire from amateur NBA writing and never watch basketball ever again.

-I’m planting my flag and being bold, and I’ll say this game won’t go into overtime.

8:12 PM ET: Amy Poehler is on Jimmy Kimmel talking about how her dad used to play college basketball and later on semi-pro ball. I’m 100 percent certain Mr. Poehler could’ve challenged Delly for his roster spot on the Cavs. (Wow, I didn’t expect to slight Dellavedova this early in the diary, especially after my very insincere apology, oh well.)

8:26 PM ET: Guillermo interviewed Timofey Mozgov and apparently Moz doesn’t know what a dinosaur is. But to be fair, dinosaurs have been extinct for about 65 million years, so who could blame him for not knowing.

JUN 09 NBA Finals Pregame at Gateway Plaza

8:34 PM ET: Dwyane still sitting in on the pregame. All he has done so far is shower LeBron with compliments. He may be just a little bit biased. Dwyane is the Turtle to LeBron’s Vinny Chase.

8:38 PM ET: Cleveland area hospitals are dressing new-born babies in Cavs apparel … this has gone too far. Then again a city that hasn’t won a championship in 51 years is probably a little desperate and eccentric.

8:45 PM ET: Dellavedova in the starting lineup again for the Cavs (bites tongue).

8:48 PM ET: If you think Tristan Thompson is max player you’re crazy. He’s an incredible rebounder and that’s cool, but he literally brings nothing else to the table on offense. I don’t see how the Cavs pay Kevin Love his money and then shell out 15 or 16 million for Tristan. Committing around $40 million to one position doesn’t seem like a prudent idea.

8:55 PM ET: Draymond needs to stuff the stat sheet tonight, as he’s been really off his game during this series so far. When he has those close to triple-double numbers it usually means the Warriors win the game. Or maybe Draymond has just been hit by that Beats by Dre commercial curse? (Colin Kaepernick nods in agreement)

9:03 PM ET: Must be tough for Rascal Flatts to follow the national anthem from Sunday that didn’t have any words. Nothing says NBA Finals like the three white guys from Rascal Flatts singing in perfect harmony. Who else is pumped?

9:09 PM ET: Mark Jackson continues to look thrilled announcing this series…

mark

9:12 PM ET: First three CLE possessions: LeBron iso, LeBron iso, LeBron iso. The sky is also blue.

9:16 PM ET: The Warriors are still struggling to get open looks on offense. Sunday’s hangover continues.

9:18 PM ET: In LeBron’s new movie he plays himself and hangs out with his white doctor. I wonder if this is based off real-life? Does LeBron like to hang out with the team doctors off the court?

9:22 PM ET: Cavs are dominating the game right now. Well here you go league GM’s, we’ve finally found the recipe for winning a title in the NBA.

1) get LeBron 2) surround him with two All-Stars and a bunch of ex-Knicks 3) have those All-Stars get injured on freak plays 4) let LeBron make up for the team’s shortcomings 5) collect trophies.

9:25 PM ET: Shumpert is shaken up and looks like he hurt his arm/hand. Good news for Warriors if he can’t come back, no one to guard both Steph and Klay on wings.

9:30 PM ET: Every time James Jones has a four-point play an angel gets its wings.

9:34 PM ET: J.R. Smith out here trying to make his own AND 1 mixtape.

9:36 PM ET: To answer your question, yes, still want to see Joe Harris in this game. I’d much rather see Joe than the corpse of Mike Miller.

9:39 PM ET: At the end of the first its CLE 24 GS 20. Cavs still remain aggressive on defense and are constricting the Warriors on offense. Cleveland has been sticking to the game plan and maintaining most of what it did in Game 2; they’re outrebounding, outhustling and controlling the pace of play.

Warriors started cold once again and the Cavs aren’t letting them get into any rhythm offensively. Towards the end of the quarter they started to settle down and finally get good shots, but those shots aren’t falling. The Cavs’ defense on Steph Curry has been impressive.

9:42 PM ET: If we played without foul-outs, I think James Jones would finish with maybe 20 fouls during a game.

9:46 PM ET: J.R. just forced Leandro Barbosa into retirement with that crossover and three-point make.

9:48 PM ET: Chris Heston just no-hit the New York Mets. If you don’t know who Chris Heston is, he plays for the San Francisco Giants, and after some due diligence on Wikipedia I found out that he’s not related to famed actor Charlton Heston.

9:50 PM ET: Iman Shumpert remains out of this game and is in the locker room (me, realizing this increases the likelihood that we eventually see Joe Harris in this series). Doesn’t matter because LeBron gets better when the basketball talent around him gets worse.

9:54 PM ET: Draymond Green now on “Michael Carter-Williams level” of three-point inefficiency.

9:55 PM ET: Draymond finally hit a three-pointer. What can I say? I’m a good motivator.

9:59 PM ET: ***David Lee alert*** Necessary move by Steve Kerr, because Warriors desperately need some offense in the post to open up the court.

10:03 PM ET: Tristan Thompson punches LeBron’s two points out of the basket. Let the point shaving scandal begin.

10:10 PM ET: Gold medalist Andre Iguodala putting the Warriors on his back.

10:13 PM ET: The Warriors have 37 points at halftime. Wow. Klay Thompson had that many in one quarter this year by himself. “The times they are a changin'”

JUN 09 Finals - Warriors at Cavaliers - Game 3

10:21 PM ET: At halftime it’s CLE 44 GS 37. I’ve concluded that I’m just the ultimate jinx for the Warriors. Why did I have to be so confident? My apologies to Kerr, Steph Curry and all Warriors fans (my second apology during this diary). This game just seems like a replica of the last. Cavs continue to be staunch on defense and have taken Steph out of the game yet again.

It’s crazy to say the Warriors need to find a way to score the ball because they have the best offense in the league. But for real, they got to find a way to penetrate this Cleveland defense. Good news for Golden State is that it’s only a seven-point deficit, but they need to respond to start the third quarter, and hopefully  Kerr has some adjustments for his team. Cleveland has to love the way its playing and just need to stick to the same game plan that’s been working and lean on LeBron in the clutch.

10:32 PM ET: The last time Steph Curry hit a shot, Sepp Blatter was running the largest and most corrupt sports organization in the world.

10:34 PM ET: Dellavedova with five straight points for the Cavs (sarcastic golf clap).

10:42 PM ET: I’ve just spent the last eight minutes with a befuddled and empty look on my face while watching how inept the Warriors’ offense has been.

10:43 PM ET: LeBron is playing in rookie mode against the computer right now.

10:44 PM ET: I’ve made as many shots as Harrison Barnes tonight.

10:46 PM ET: I can already tell you right now that I’m definitely not going to watch the “30 for 30” on Matthew Dellavedova and the 2015 NBA Playoffs.

10:49 PM ET: Cavs are up 20 points. Silver lining for me is that we might get some Joe Harris garbage time.

10:53 PM ET: (fast-forward 10 years): Matthew Dellavedova opens up a restaurant in Cleveland called “Delly’s Deli” and it instantly becomes the most popular spot in the city.

(fast-forward 25 years): Dellavedova statue gets erected outside Quicken Loans Arena, which has been renamed “Matthew Dellavedova Memorial Arena”

(fast-forward 70 years): a deceased Dellavedova has his remains cremated and ashes scattered over Lake Erie. Eight million Ohioans attend his funeral.

JUN 09 NBA Finals Pregame at Gateway Plaza

11:01 PM ET: Warriors cut it to 12, but my belief in them is dwindling. Not sure they have a run in them this big with LeBron on the floor (reverse jinx).

11:02 PM ET: Reverse jinx is working. Warriors down nine.

11:08 PM ET: Mike Breen: “What do you do if you’re in trouble? You put Dellavedova back into the game.”

No, Mike. No.

11:11 PM ET: David Lee making an impact. This series has always been about ex-Knicks playing huge roles.

11:13 PM ET: Warriors evaporated that Cleveland 20-point lead down to six. Still don’t know how that happened. All I remember was that there was some loud noises, some Lee, some Barbosa and a Steph step-back three (reverse jinx continues).

11:19 PM ET: Lee is being Golden State’s version of Dellavedova except with a much higher salary.

11:26 PM ET: If this game goes to overtime I quit everything (one-point game).

11:28 PM ET: LeBron dagger, Cavs up seven, under two minutes to go.

11:32 PM ET: At this point I’m so embarrassed by how well Dellavedova is playing that every time I hear his name on the broadcast my testicles recede into my stomach.

11:43 PM ET: This thought just ran through my head: If the Cavs can win the Finals without Kyrie or Love, how much worse does that Andrew Wiggins trade look now?

11:44 PM ET: Steph doing his best to keep the squad in it; hits back to back threes (Cavs up three, 18 seconds left). Also, I just realized we haven’t seen Riley Curry once this game (Windhorst 1 – America 0).

11:47 PM ET: Refs gonna ref…

11:50 PM ET: Cavs win Game 3: Final score 96-91

JUN 09 NBA Finals Pregame at Gateway Plaza

12:01 AM ET: This game was eerily similar to Game 2, as every scene was almost an exact replica except for Golden State not fully overcoming the Cavs’ lead in the fourth. I really believed the Warriors were going to respond after losing last game at home. But they had no answer for the Cavs’ smothering defense. Cleveland swallowed up Curry until the fourth quarter, but the rest of the Warriors squad (Klay, Draymond, Barnes) was ice cold and equally sequestered by the Cavs’ imposing defense.

LeBron was (insert hyperbolic adjective here). He was simply incredible and has been throughout the series. If the Cavs continue to follow this game plan they’ve set out for themselves and play at this high a level on defense, there’s no reason to believe they can’t take this series.

The Warriors cannot continue to shoot themselves in the foot and start slow in games. Game 4 will be the ultimate test for them, and they know a loss on Thursday could mean losing their shot at a championship. I expect the Warriors to make adjustments and come out in Game 4 acting like they want to be there more; they have to start being the hungrier team

12:07 AM ET: How about Dellavedova? I told you guys how great he was and you didn’t believe me. C’mon, don’t know how you couldn’t see these two consecutive great performances coming.

Okay, but seriously it defies every scientific law that he’s playing this well. All of this still isn’t persuading me by the way. I will deny ’til I die.

Also, LeBron just said Dellavedova is “made of steel”. If that’s true I want the league to test Delly because I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to have some type of “Wolverine” mutant X-Men on the court. (Is it a coincidence that Hugh Jackman and Delly are both Australian?)

Anyway Delly, congrats on the W. But one of these games I’ll finally stop looking stupid for doubting you.

12:09 AM ET: Draymond, you need to get your act together. You’re better than this. That is all. I love you, play better please.

12:16 AM ET: I’m not going to stick around for the postgame pressers, but I’ll sum it up for you. One reporter asks “can you talk about this…?”, then the next reporter asks “can you talk about this…?” And this pattern will go on for several minutes.

12:17 AM ET: Goodnight everyone, I’ll see you for Game 4. I’m going to go write 10,000 words on why Jordan Farmar or Eric Maynor should be playing for the Cavs instead of Matthew Dellavedova.

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 tfbmailbag@gmail.com.

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