Everything was set in order for the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Coming off two losses from the Bay area is nothing new for LeBron James and the Cavs. Their mentality was to ignore the media, shake off the pressure, and bring in a big W at home. Things were looking in the Cavaliers’ favor all the way to halftime. Steph Curry was having a very uncharacteristic off night. A completely different look from a record-breaking Game 2 for Steph. The Warriors’ struggles meant nothing for Kevin Durant, as he scored 43 points to help achieve the win on the road.
Cleveland looks dead in the water at the moment. No matter how much LeBron flexes his athletic ability, the Cavs continue to fall short. Go back to Game 1 when King James scored an incredible 51 points and still came up with a loss. Nobody can say that LeBron didn’t put up an effort in front of his home crowd. Even after scoring a triple-double on the Warriors, it still wasn’t enough to secure the win. Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, LeBron’s numbers weren’t a match for the destruction that Kevin Durant left behind at the Quicken Loan Arena.
Golden State has a strange problem on their hands at the moment. Do they go for the four-game sweep for the extra accolade towards their legacy? Would it be wise to allow the Cavs one win in the series to give the Warriors a rest? At least they would be able to win the championship in front of their fans at The Town. The safest bet would to just win it all right away. With LeBron James as an opponent, he has the capability to tie the series quickly. We’ve all witnessed it happen once before when the Cavs were down 3-1. LeBron receives quite a lot of criticism during his career, but one thing that people can not deny is the man never gives up. The coffin may be closing on Cleveland for this year’s Finals, but make no mistake they will be fighting to stay alive in Game 4.
The NBA Finals will always give us consistency. LeBron James seems to always be there, the crowd noise will always be loud, and the memes will always be golden. Last week Game 1 ended with LeBron James’ frustration towards JR Smith. Can’t blame the guy when putting up a career-high 51 points and still losing in overtime. Now with the Cavaliers down 0-2 in the series, a video has surfaced to catch a glimpse of Cleveland’s bench.
A quick recap of what is shown in this video: absolutely nothing. The game was in commercial break before overtime, and the faces reveal more focus than frustration. There isn’t a viral video of what the Warriors bench looked like after JR Smith’s folly play. Rest assured it most likely wasn’t full of high fives and celebratory hugs. The game wasn’t over, and that’s what was on every player’s mind during that moment.
The crucifixion of JR Smith is a little over-embellished. Don’t be mistaken, he made a terrible decision; there’s no doubt about that. Smith claims that he thought the Cavaliers were going to call a timeout. Even if that were true, Golden State still could have forced a turnover. Hypothetically, if LeBron or JR took a game-winning shot there’s always the possibility the ball misses. If Warriors get the rebound, they still had four seconds to make a play. Simply chuck the ball to Steph Curry and let him work his magic. Nothing was guaranteed for Cleveland to win that game. The irony is how JR Smith becomes the martyr, but no one blames Hill for missing the last free throw.
The grumbles of JR Smith lingered into Game 2 of the Finals. Golden State fans used it as fuel as they mocked JR with their MVP chants at the free throw line. Nobody on the Cavaliers roster can take the blame for losing Game 2, however. It’s hard to win when Steph Curry is on the court making history with 10 three-point shots in a single NBA Finals game. Tack on the fact that it’s almost impossible to beat the Warriors at Oracle Arena. Only the Houston Rockets have been able to put that accomplishment in their resume in recent years.
Now the Cavaliers get a chance to try to dig themselves out of the hole they’re buried in. Shake off the critical backlash that has been hovering over JR Smith and allow LeBron to play some of the best basketball we’ve seen him play. Being back in front of the home crowd of Cleveland should help ease the tension that’s built around them. It might be a wise choice for the Cavaliers to avoid social media for a while. Otherwise, they’ll have to face the constant reminder of the picture which has blessed us with one of the best meme formats of the summer: