We’re two games into the NBA Finals, the series tied at a game a piece, essentially creating a brand new five-game series for us. The only difference? The Cavaliers now have home-court advantage.
On Thursday, prior to game one, I made a few predictions regarding the play and result of the series, and two games in, I’d like to take a look and check on the status of a few of those.
1. LeBron will shoot better than 35% from three for the series.
In Game 1 the King shot 2-8 (good for 25%) from three and in Game 2 he shot 3-6 from beyond the arc, including what probably should have been a dagger that put Cleveland up 11 with a little over three minutes to go. That brings us to a total of 5-14 so far, which is good for 35.7% from three. So… technically I’m right.. so far. There was no way 17% was going to stick, especially with Golden State predictably giving him a lot of room from outside.
2. Steph Curry will break Danny Green’s record for threes in the NBA Finals.
Eeeeek. This was the one prediction I thought was an absolute no-brainer. Steph Curry, the guy that may go down as the best shooter in NBA history, is an atrocious 4-21 (19%) from beyond the arc through two games. At two threes a game, he’s only on pace for 14 total (if the series goes seven), barely over half of the 27 Danny Green hit in 2013. Cleveland is doing a good job of trapping Steph the moment he crosses the half-court line, forcing the ball out of his hands, but more than anything, Dellavedova is playing amazing defense right now. As awful as he is on offense, he has been relentless, giving Steph very little room to work with.
3. Iman Shumpert will replace J.R. Smith in the starting lineup.
He did, and good thing too. J.R. is an absolute mess so far. Iman hasn’t been much better, but he’s played extended minutes on Curry, assisting in those traps I mentioned above and contributing to the atrocious three point shooting.
4. Klay Thompson Will Echo James Harden of 2012 and Stink
Ha! Can I go back in time and write Steph Curry’s name instead? Klay Thompson is averaging 27.5 points a game on 45% shooting, including 33% from beyond the three point line. Not great, but he’s certainly not stinking it up either. Who knows, maybe this will go seven, giving me five more games for Klay to absolutely stink. That chance still exists.
5. Golden State will Win the Finals in 6 games
Still very much possible.
Give the Cavaliers a lot of credit, they’ve played Golden State the only way you can: take the ball out of Steph Curry’s hands, but I’m still not convinced this trend of poor shooting is going to continue for the league’s MVP. I’ve seen him catch fire way too easily.
On the other hand, if LeBron is going to average 41 points and 12 rebounds over an entire series… well the Cavs might win the next three in a row. There always seems to be a reluctance for LeBron to go into the post, but when he does, he is so damn deadly. He’s too hard to stop on your own, and if you bring help he will zip the ball to the open man before you can recover.
No Kyrie or Love… Steph is shooting less than 20% from three… LeBron is averaging 41 points per game… There’s a lot of moving parts in this narrative. The odds favor Steph improving and LeBron regressing. I’m still going to take the Warriors in six… but I would sure as hell welcome a game seven that went into quadruple overtime. Everyone make sure you pray to the appropriate basketball god tonight, and ask nicely for that game seven.