The Finals Are Too Fast, Too Furious for the Cavs

Ross Houston
June 8, 2017

Durant blocked five shots to go with 33 points, 13 rebounds and six assists after going off for 38 points and eight assists in Thursday's Game 1. There was no panic. "I gave everything I had".

Now compare it to the relatively reasonable speed last year's Finals maintained.

"You understand the journey and how much of the energy it took from a mental and physical standpoint in order to come back from something like that", said Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving. Yes, James and the Cavs beat them in seven games. At the same point in the 2016 NBA Finals, Golden State was also up 2-0.

Steve Kerr said it's obvious Kevin Durant "knows this is his moment".

Circumstances are a bit different thanks to the presence of Durant but the Warriors are fully aware of what can happen. James is a player concerned first and foremost about his brand; and if he feels said brand is being attacked you can bet he'll do his best to put any and all negative talk to bed.

The Cleveland Cavaliers find themselves in the same place through two games in the NBA Finals they were at this point last season.


Kevin Durant, who led the way with 31 points, was eager to stay grounded ahead of what could be a decisive contest on Friday.

You can practically see the determination on Curry's face as he tries to one up KD, which led to sloppy play at times in Game 2, including an uncharacteristically high 8 turnovers. He rewarded that trust with a victory.

But to treat this Warriors' win as just a Durant accomplishment misses the beauty of what the Warriors have constructed.

While Durant has reopened the conversation, he's still two wins away from making it a plausible discussion for most.

Game 3: Cavaliers 120, Warriors 90.

The Kyrie Irving give-up three. The shot clanked out, and the Warriors went back the other way to grab ahold of the game.


James and Irving were relentless in the second half and it appeared they had done enough to get Cleveland over the top and perhaps back in the series. The Cavs' sudden inefficiency was no accident. My theory, which was chiefly inspired by Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, the SSOL Suns, and the Wizards' Gilbert Arenas/Larry Hughes backcourt, was pretty simple: Do away with fixed, traditional positions and let players' unique skill sets determine their on-court roles.

Durant knows how to manipulate the attention he draws with such passing, and it's easy for him when he has the right teammates and absurdly versatile power forwards/centers who can space the floor like Green.

The Warriors are 15-0 and can finish off the NBA's first ideal postseason with a victory here in Game 4. The key was the production Kerr would get from his rested players with the game on the line.

This is only the second trip to the Finals for Durant, a former MVP.

"The goal is to win 16 games", Stephen Curry said. As we've seen so far in the Finals, the result has been nothing short of devastating. If it's not a good shot, then run our offense. Durant's late out-burst was facilitated, like Curry outbursts earlier, by putting the ball in his hands and letting him create in transition.

"The Warriors are more locked in defensively than the Cavs". The Cavs are quickly running out of time to fix it.


Ultimately, the business-like precision with which the Warriors are pursuing their post-season shouldn't be viewed as a lack of passion. The Warriors have learned their lessons. "He's been an awesome player in this league for a long time, and he senses this is his time, his moment, his team". Who's to say they can't get better? It wouldn't take much to nudge this collection of egos in the wrong direction, especially if they haven't ironed out all the kinks, ala Miami circa 2011.

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