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Jonas Nader

Basketball Daily Dose

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Dose: No Kyrie, No Problem

Monday, June 8, 2015


Cavaliers 95, Warriors 93 (series tied 1-1)

 

For the second time in a row, Sunday’s game was decided yet again in overtime, but this time it was the Cavaliers who prevailed. Led once again by LeBron James, the Cavaliers also got some huge performances from Matthew Dellavedova and Timofey Mozgov, while Klay Thompson and Draymond Green were really the only Warriors who actually showed up to play. Many people, including myself, thought that the series was pretty much over after Kyrie Irving went down with a fractured knee, but it looks like we’re in for quite a finish to the season.

 

LeBron James was simply phenomenal Sunday, and he posted a triple-double on his way to 39 points, 16 boards, 11 assists, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers. He did shoot just 11-of-34 from the field, but it’s hard to blame him considering the responsibility that he has on offense right now. Other than J.R. Smith, James is basically the only player on the Cavaliers’ active roster who can create his own shot, so he isn’t going to be shy about shooting the ball with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love on the shelf. James is playing some insanely good basketball right now, and he also has to be thrilled with the fight that his team showed in Game 2.

 

Timofey Mozgov was a beast for the Cavaliers for the second game in a row, and he had a field day on Andrew Bogut in the paint. Acquiring Mozgov from the Nuggets this season for a couple of first round picks has really paid off, and the Cavaliers front office deserves a lot of credit for that (as well as the additions of J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert). Mozgov finished the game with 17 points, and 11 rebounds in 29 minutes, but he was unfortunately glued to the bench down the stretch when both teams opted to go with smaller lineups.

 

Matthew Dellavedova started in place of the injured Kyrie Irving on Sunday, and despite a slow start to the game, his defense on Stephen Curry was the difference maker in this one. Curry simply couldn’t score on him, and Dellavedova did an outstanding job fighting through screens to stay attached to the lethal sharpshooter. Dellavedova finished with nine points, five boards, one assist, three steals and a 3-pointer, and the Cavaliers would be wise to keep him on Curry for the remainder of the series.

 

Tristan Thompson was held to just two points for the second straight game, but he continued to wreak havoc on the glass with seven of his 14 rebounds coming on the offensive end. Thompson has shot a combined 1-of-9 from the field so far in this series, but his ability to generate extra possessions and his contributions on the defensive end have been crucial. J.R. Smith scored 13 points on 5-of-13 shooting with four boards and a couple of 3-pointers before fouling out in 38 minutes, but he committed three costly fouls late in the game and nearly blew it for his teammates. Smith has had some rough moments in this series, but the Cavaliers need to keep him on the floor his ability to generate offense.

 

Stephen Curry had arguably his worst game of the season on Sunday, as he simply couldn’t get his shot to go down. He finished with 19 points on just 5-of-23 shooting from the field and 2-of-15 from 3-point range, and he also turned the ball over six times. Curry did hit a driving layup with seven seconds left in regulation to force overtime, but he later airballed a step-back jumper over Dellavedova which would have put the Warriors up by one with just a few seconds left to go in the game. Curry vowed after the game that this would never happen again, and I fully expect the MVP to bounce back nicely in Game 3.

 

Klay Thompson was red hot to start the game, but he got into some early foul trouble which really slowed the Warriors down. Thompson finished with 34 points, five boards, two assists, two steals, one block and four 3-pointers, and unlike Curry, he punished the Cavaliers whenever they put Dellavedova on him. Cleveland didn’t really have an answer for him in this one, and it will be interesting to see what kind of changes they implement in Game 3.

 

Draymond Green was just 2-of-7 from the field tonight, but he stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, 10 boards, two assists, five steals and three blocks, and he made a couple of massive rejections on LeBron James late in the game. Green will be getting a max offer this summer, and his toughness and defense makes him worth every penny. However, Green (and Andrew Bogut) will need to find a way to limit Tristan Thompson’s offensive rebounding, as Thompson has averaged 6.5 offensive boards through the first two games of the series.

 

Curry was pretty bad tonight, but Andrew Bogut was the most disappointing Warrior in my opinion. Bogut finished with just two points, 10 boards, one assist and a couple of blocks, but he was bullied by Timofey Mozgov in the loss and he couldn’t stay out of foul trouble. The Warriors and Cavaliers both opted to play small ball down the stretch, and that trend looks like it will continue as the series shifts to Cleveland.

 

Harrison Barnes scored 11 points with six boards and a steal, but he missed several open looks and failed to hit any of his four attempts from beyond the arc. Barnes is hoping to receive a contract extension from the Warriors this summer, so he will have plenty of motivation to play better in Game 3. The Warriors decided to stick with a six-man rotation on Sunday with Andre Iguodala seeing 36 minutes off the bench, and he once again found himself guarding LeBron James when it mattered most. Iguodala finished with seven points, six boards, five assists, one steal and one 3-pointer, and he has proven to be the Warriors’ best answer to guarding James in this series so far.

 

Game 3 is set to take place in Cleveland on Tuesday, and while the Cavaliers have to be thrilled that the series is tied, I’m sticking with my prediction of the Warriors winning it in six. For coverage of the NBA Finals and fantasy advice, click here to follow me on Twitter!




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