Cavs try to adjust on both ends of court

James Marshall
June 5, 2017

While the Cavs players and coaches said all the right things after the game - "We didn't play our game", "We just need to play better" etc., the fact is that the Warriors didn't play their best game either, but won by 20.

Someone painted a racial slur - the N-word - on the gate of his Los Angeles home, leaving James to address racism rather than his seventh straight Finals appearance or stopping KD.

Kyrie Irving, who hit the deciding 3-pointer with Curry's hand in his face last June as Cleveland rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to win its first championship, scored 24 points on 10-of-22 shooting.

"Well, I'm pretty sure that won't happen tomorrow", Durant said with a grin Saturday. Going into game two we'll be a lot more settled in, a lot better on the defensive end.

"Having film to go back and watch, make adjustments from, get used to the tempo and so on, will allow them to come in feeling better about their game plan". Yet if the Warriors want to beat LeBron James' Cavs for the second time in three years in the Finals, that's where they must keep such thoughts - a secondary topic. Were not just going to say, ‘Oh, man, we really need to get Klay going.”.

But Thompson is an elite defender, and he gave the Cavs fits Thursday night. He had six slams in the first half alone for the Warriors, who at 13-0 are already the first team to go this far in a postseason unblemished. You don't really have to force much of the infusion of KD into your lineup.

Taking care of the ball will be equally important after that became a major problem in the opener for Cleveland, which committed 20 turnovers in an uncharacteristically sloppy game. But can they win win the 50-50 loose balls and prevent Golden State from multiple shots on one possession?

"It has been a great run, but none of that matters unless we can finish the job", Kerr said.

Not that they're discussing it. Forcing Golden State to play in transition can be successful, but Cleveland went about it entirely the wrong way. They got one guy who keeps kicking people in the nuts. At full strength, Curry remains one of the best players in the world, and he makes the Warriors almost impossible to stop. In fact, the Cavs were the better team on the offensive board, getting 15 of their 56 misses back, while GSW had 14 offensive rebounds on their 61 misses.

The Warriors were also clogging Cleveland's passing lanes, with the Cavaliers unable to spread the floor with its shooters as it had in the Eastern Conference Finals - with their top long-range marksmen (J.R. Smith, Kevin Love, Deron Williams and Kyle Korver) going a combined 4-of-11 from deep. Against a high-powered offense like Golden State's, the Cavaliers can't afford James being any less than his very best for the entire game.

Thompson said he expects a more physical game from Cleveland Sunday and Love said the Cavs will try to be more forceful in hopes of creating more turnovers.

So head coach Tyronn Lue took it upon himself to remind Smith what the Cavs need from him heading into Sunday's Game 2. We're going to work and you're going to do whatever you can to get yourself ready for a big moment throughout the course of the season. This team, playing against the Warriors, you just can't play hard. "We have to have the mindset of a must win, because (Thursday's) great game nearly means nothing if we lose on Sunday". "Every mistake you make defensively, they make you pay, and you saw that", Lue said.

"For me, I approach every game the same way, no matter if I'm at home or on the road", James said. "They did a good of sending, whether it was Zaza [Pachulia] or [Javale] McGee, with another guard, sending two guys to box me out. And it took a couple games for me to get it back, but I felt good once we started". But also had some when I got caught in the air and tried to make some skip passes and they were able to pick them off.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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