After the loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, we tried to calm people by saying the Cleveland Cavaliers just needed to win their two home games, so there was no reason to panic.
The Cavs still need to win one game on the Celtics home court, just like they did going into the series after a 111-102 victory at Quicken Loans Arena.
So, tonight was not LeBron James’ last game in a Cavalier uniform because he will be here Friday night for Game 6.
And of course, James was incredible again last night, scoring 44 points on 28 shots, and he added in five rebounds and three assists. Can The King play better? The seven turnovers he had say yes he can.
The “supporting cast” also played very well too. Tristan Thompson had 13 points and 12 boards, and continued to give Al Horford trouble defensively.
George Hill has been a completely different player at home, scoring 13 points in each game, making 50% of his 20 shot attempts in the two games. And he does a good job on the defensive end as well.
What more can you see about Kyle Korver. The 37-year-old scored 14 points, had four rebounds and incredibly, three blocked shots. Korver isn’t a great one-on-one defender, and never really was, and Brad Stevens tries to take advantage of that when Korver is matched up on Jalen Brown, but he is seemingly always in the right spot, and can always be counted on to dive on the loose ball.
We are sure the Kevin Love critics will be out in full force today, because he didn’t shoot well, but he still had 9 points and 11 rebounds, despite foul trouble. And his tip in basket in the fourth quarter came at a critical time.
As for the people who think Tyronn Lue shouldn’t be second guessed if the wine and gold win, we need to ask what is his obsession with Jeff Green. Green is a solid defender, that’s true, but the combination of he and Thompson on the court at the same time needs to be junked.
The Cavs play horribly with that duo on the court together.
If Cleveland is to get the road win they need tomorrow night, they have to take care of the ball better. 19 turnovers (seven by James, six more by Love) is way too many.
The Cavaliers also need to continue the defensive effort they received at home too. Boston shot 40% in the two games at The Q, and if they can get those kind of results in Beantown, that will bode well for the team.
Yes, Boston was in the same position in their first round series against Milwaukee, and the Bucks have Giannis Antetokounmpo, a superstar, but the Greek Freak isn’t the best player in the sport, and the Bucks don’t have the experience which permeates the Cleveland roster.
What that means if perhaps the Celtics will be feeling some pressure understanding that a loss on Wednesday night means going back to Cleveland, where they haven’t played well, for a must win contest.
Right now, momentum is with the Cavs. They need to smell blood after two straight wins and jump on Boston early.
One other advantage for Cleveland. They have LeBron James. And that’s a big edge.