Preview of game three of the 2018 NBA Finals with a look at how the Cavaliers can stage the upset. The Cleveland Cavaliers almost shocked the world in game one of the 2018 NBA Finals.
LeBron James went into full god mode to get the Cavs on the brink of a huge upset, only to be burned by two gaffes by his supporting cast. George Hill missed what could have been a game-winning free throw with four seconds left.
He would have been the scapegoat in any other setting, but J.R. Smith one-upped him by snatching the rebound and proceeding to inexplicably run out the clock. That allowed the Golden State Warriors to force overtime, where they ultimately ran away with the game.
The impact of blowing that win bled into game two and suddenly the Cavs are in a 2-0 hole after pushing the Dubs to the limit in game one.
Despite being in a big hole, the Cavs winning game 3 is not out of the question. The setting shifts to Ohio in game three, where LeBron James and co. play their best ball and can make this an actual series.
It looks bleak, but here’s a few reasons why Cleveland absolutely can snag this game and turn this series around:
The Warriors Are Complacent
One of the main reasons this series is far from over and the Cavs can steal game three is the fact that the Warriors are frequently complacent.
Whether it’s boredom or something else, Golden State often plays down to their level of competition and/or gets sloppy with turnovers.
Everyone saw it firsthand in the Western Conference Finals, when they crushed the Rockets in game one, only to get completely housed in game two.
The Warriors then choked away two key wins in that series before storming back to win two straight to advance to the Finals. Golden State has more talent and is the better team on paper, maybe even by a lot. However, the Warriors don’t always perform like the better team.
If the Dubs don’t keep their foot on the gas and Cleveland again hangs around late, they’re at risk of letting the Cavs get back in this thing.
Home Sweet Home
Another huge factor is that Cleveland tends to be pretty good at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavs have gone 37-13 at home this year and have also gone 17-10 against the spread when Vegas bets against them.
The beauty is it isn’t just about King James when Cleveland plays on their home floor.
Their top-10 three-point shooting offense tends to come to life in front of their home crowd and we got a nice taste of that during the Eastern Conference Finals. Returning to Cleveland certainly doesn’t guarantee the Cavs a thing. However, they play better at home and will have a rowdy crowd backing them.
If Cleveland can get going and be aggressive early on, they could ride out a big win at home.
King James is a Beast
The Warriors can be complacent, and the Cavs play better at home, but the number one reason they can steal game three is LeBron James.
King James put up 51 points in game one, virtually willing his team to the finish line. Even when they were in perfect position, they committed two horrendous gaffes to blow it.That amazing performance was for nothing in the end, while a 13-dime effort in game two also went to waste.
It’s very possible James puts up another MVP-laden outing and the Cavs around him burn him in the end. However, with the pulse of this series wavering and his back against the all, it’d be utterly shocking for James to do anything less than go completely nuts.
While the Cavs aren’t a lock to win game three, they still have arguably the best player on the planet, a capable outside offense and the home court edge. That at least gives them a very real shot here and a chance to keep an otherwise over-matched NBA Finals interesting.
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