In the Paint: Cleveland Needs Game 3

By: Brian Akins / @Brian_on_WNML

The Cleveland Cavaliers are home at Quicken Loans Arena for a very important Game 3 match up against the Golden State Warriors.  The Cavs are in serious trouble after losing Game 1, which was in their grasp until the JR Smith free throw blunder where he forgot that the game was tied.  The Cavs went on to lose that game in OT by a final score of 124-114.

The Cavaliers then lost Game 2 against the Warriors 122-103 after Golden State just dominated from the start.  Stephen Curry scored an NBA Finals record nine three-pointers.  Cleveland struggled to get things going offensively and they were unable to stop Golden State’s high power offense.

Now Game 3 is here and Cleveland is in a situation where they must win to avoid going down 3-0 against Golden State.  No this would not be the first time that the Cavs were down by two games to the Warriors, but this year’s Cavaliers team is much different than the 2016 Cavs team that came back from being down 3-1 and won the series.

Cleveland needs to do a few things to have a chance in Game 3 against the Warriors.  First things first, the Cavs must get production from more than just LeBron, Love and Hill.  Cleveland needs their bench to step up in a big way in this Game 3.  Players like Kyle Korver, Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson and Rodney Hood need to step up when they are on the floor.  Secondly, the Cavaliers have got to bench JR Smith.  Smith has done nothing but get in the way of the Cavs success in this series.  He botched Game 1 and scored only five points in Game 2.  He is a hindrance to this team and needs to get out of their way because otherwise Cleveland is only hurting themselves with him on the floor.  Lastly, Cleveland needs to play tight on-ball defense to try and find a way to prevent the onslaught of three-pointers that Steph and Klay will throw up.  If you can slow the ‘Splash Brothers’ down and play tight defense on Durant and Green you can give yourself a chance, but that is much easier said than done.

This is going to be a tough game for Cleveland, but they are at home which gives them a much better chance at taking a Game 3 from Golden State, but they have to play next to perfect basketball to get the job done.  It is going to be a tough task, but there is not a lot that LeBron James cannot do, and we have seen his elite level of play all season long.

 

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