15 Things We Learned From Game 3 Of The NBA Finals

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15 Things We Learned From Game 3 Of The NBA Finals

  1. Kevin Love is the dry handjob of the NBA; sure, sometimes it’ll get the job done, but nobody is happy about it.

  2. Without the aforementioned chafing, the Cavaliers’ spacing gives the much-smaller Warriors fits. Even while shooting a good, but not unrepeatable, percentage (just over 50 overall) the Cavs’ control of the paint and offensive rebounding can overwhelm the “Splash Brothers.”
  3. Cavs have turned this series into a prison rules battle. And no, I’m not just referring to JR Smith. Curry is bumped, shoved, elbowed and grabbed on seemingly every possession.
  4. Speaking of Curry, the beating he took from Steven Adams closeouts and the barrage of Cavalier “picks” has seriously gotten to him. The MVP looks tentative, bracing for impact after most shots; while the officials have seemingly forgotten the concept of protecting the shooter’s landing.
  5. LeBron James is clearly the most valuable player on Earth, and it is not even close. LeBron’s versatility, defense, playmaking, and now even his…gasp…jump shooting, have made the two-time champion almost undefendable.
  6. LeBron’s greatest attribute, however, is his decision making. Last night, James, in his best role as the primary ball handler, dissected the Warrior’s defense on his way to another near triple double.
  7. Even with the Warrior bigs on the floor, the lane was wide open like Sasha Grey’s legs. James, Irving, Smith, and even Thompson, were able to put the ball on the floor and get to the rack. The Bogut block bonanza of game two seemed a distant memory by the second half.
  8. Richard Jefferson, who I remember in New Jersey with Vince Carter back when my life’s stresses revolved around Pokémon cards, is apparently an ageless wonder. Jefferson, filling for Kevin “camped in the corner” Love, sparked the early Cleveland run. A reliable 3-point shooter and surprisingly athletic finisher, Jefferson will likely remain a starter.
  9. The “Splash Brothers,” though incredible shooters, are as worthless as, well, Kevin Love when their shots aren’t falling. Thompson at least provides decent man defense on the other end of the floor, but Curry is almost unwatchable defending players of superior size and athleticism.
  10. Steve Kerr struggles immensely to motivate his supposed “greatest team of all time” for Game 3s. Again, the Warriors looked largely lifeless, mirroring losses to Houston and OKC in their respective third matchups. Aside from a brief second quarter run, last night seemed like an unending Monday morning for the team from Oakland.
  11. The Cavs, win or lose, will be incredible next season. The main reason here is the immense trade chip that should remain on the bench: Kevin Love. With his absurd career numbers pre-Cleveland (25-15 in Minnesota), youth, and reasonable extension in the face of a cap explosion, Love will command a hefty price.
  12. That “hefty price” should be Blake Griffin. Sounds crazy, right? Think about it for a second. The Clippers are stuck in mid-round purgatory in the West, with OKC, Golden State, and San Antonio entrenched as powers for the foreseeable future. Griffin and Deandre Jordan simply cannot coexist, clogging the lane and leaving the aging Clippers without any semblance of outside shooting or spacing. Enter Love, a forty percent 3-point shooter, seemingly unwilling to move out of the corner, spacing the floor and regularly wide open for kick outs. The Cavs get the third scorer they desperately need, more toughness inside, and are already stocked with shooters. Everybody wins. Not to mention CP and Blake supposedly despise each other.
  13. Golden State’s home court advantage is monumental. Both teams are shells of themselves on the road, or at least have done their best 76ers impression while in their opponents’ buildings. With four (if necessary) games to go, and a 2-1 lead, Golden State’s comfort of home for a possible Game 7 looms large.
  14. The Warriors need to let Barnes and Ezeli walk, using the saved funds to lure a ring-hungry veteran big on a discount to Golden State, a la David West to the Spurs. This is also an option via sign and trade, especially for the oddly valuable Barnes. Like the WWII French, Golden State’s front line is pathetic. As time goes on, more teams will follow the OKC/Cleveland (Game 3) blueprint of abusing the shooters and dominating the glass.
  15. This series will go another week, maybe more. Thoughts of a sweep, or even a 4-1 Warriors victory have gone the way of Silly Bandz. The Warriors are undoubtedly still the favorite, but a Game 4 victory in Cleveland is extremely unlikely, meaning both teams will be taking multiple cross-country flights.

As it stands today, I’d say Game 3 improved Cleveland’s championship odds from about ten percent to thirty-five percent. Still, like my writing career, my bet is a fucking mess. But, there is hope.

Image via YouTube

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