The Cleveland Cavaliers play the Golden State Warriors in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday. The Warriors defeated the Cavs in Game 1.
Take Out The Trash
That's the word Tristan Thompson used to describe his performance in Game 1. "Trash". The Cavaliers center, who's averaging 9 rebounds and almost 9 points per game in these playoffs, was a non-factor in the Finals opener, going scoreless and pulling down just four rebounds. He promises to be better in Game 2. Certainly more aggressive. The Cavs are going to need him.
Amp it up
Richard Jefferson, always one of the most insightful and entertaining players on the team, laughingly agreed with Tristan's assessment. And RJ has the solution: "play to exhaustion". If the defending champs somehow needed a reminder that they're not dealing with the patsies of the East anymore, they got it on Thursday night. In Jefferson's words, it was a "wake-up call". Let's see how they respond on Sunday night.
Muck It Up
That's what Kevin Durant expects the Cavs to do in Game 2, get more physical. And as Draymond told me, that's who they (Cavaliers) are. He disputed my theory that physical play is what turned last year's Finals around, and in fact said 'bring it on, we'll get more physical, too'. But Green also made a good point that all series get more physical, more chippy as they move along. And that's good. Because I believe that benefits the Cavaliers.
Get Defensive (Again)
The Cavaliers cruised through the East with tenacious defense that led to explosive offense. That got away from them in Game 1 (along with the basketball. 20 turnovers??). Even Mike Brown admitted today that we're not going to see a 20-4 turnover differential again. The Cavs somehow came out of Game 1 without a steal. So after burning the game tapes, burn the box score. We're not going to see numbers like this again.
Seems Like Old Times
The Cavs have been in this position before, and not just last year when they dropped the first two games in Oakland. Two years ago they lost Game 1, and rallied to win Game 2, without Kyrie and Kevin Love. They can swing this series in their favor with a win on Sunday night, and head home with their mission accomplished. But going down 2-0 to the Warriors, while not insurmountable (as we learned last year), certainly makes life tougher. That's how big Game 2 is.
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