The Golden State Warriors have yet to play their best game and still hold a seemingly insurmountable 2-0 series lead in the NBA Finals. After last night’s 30-point blowout the question needs to be asked: Do the Cavs have anything left?
It doesn’t seem like Tyronn Lue has any answers. After Game 1, he implored his team to continue to push the pace, something he’s desired since taking over for David Blatt in January. Problem is, that mostly plays right into the Warriors’ hands. No team was better at playing in the chaos of an uptempo game during the regular season. No team is better at using a smaller lineup (it’s called the Lineup of Death for a Reason) to speed up the game.
Lue had more interesting thoughts after last night’s game when asked about the fight his team showed.
“I thought early we did hit first,” Lue said in his press conference. “I just thought when they went to the small lineup, their small lineup was a lot faster than what ours was. Being faster and being longer and athletic gave us some trouble. It gave us some problems.So we’ve got to try to figure that lineup out, and we’ll be fine. But I thought we came out with the right intentions.”
It’s more than a little odd that Lue seems surprised that the Warriors were faster than his team. They’ve done that to opponents all season long.
Still, its hard to to completely fault Lue. After all, only one team, the Thunder, figured out the Death Lineup this year and they only really did it for two games. Lue won’t be able to replicate that; he doesn’t have Serge Ibaka and Kevin Durant on his team.
This all makes that 2-0 deficit even more dire than usual. It’s hard to know what the answer is. The Cavs tried LeBron at center for Sunday night and that failed miserably, as the Warriors outscored them by 11 points in 10 minutes. No one is going to out-small the Warriors. Slowing the pace down also comes with drawbacks because the Warriors defense has been incredible in the halfcourt. Playing Channing Frye more minutes might help the offense, but it also frees the Warriors to go small with impunity.
Cleveland remains a great team with a deep roster that blazed through the Eastern Conference in tremendously impressive fashion. But, at least through two games in Oracle Arena, the Cavs are a team that fails to match up with the Warriors. The team they are facing is one of the greatest of all time for reason. Golden State has almost certainly made doubt creep into every corner of Believeland.