On Sunday night at 8 p.m. EST on ABC, the Cleveland Cavaliers will take on the defending champions, the Golden State Warriors, for Game 2 of the NBA Finals. While the Warriors beat the Cavs in Game 1 by 15 points (104-89), they still had an off night. The Splash Brothers struggled in Game 1, as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were 8-27 for shooting and only totaled 20 points; but, don’t bet on that to happen again.
The Warriors found a victory in Game 1 because of their supporting bench, which has often been the case and a key ingredient to their success, especially in the postseason. Backup point guard Shaun Livingston had a paramount performance as he scored 20 points in 27 minutes. Contrast this to his postgame performance leading up to Game 1, with just a combined total of 27 points.
MVP Stephen Curry commented on his performance, and the team as a whole, in the postgame interview.
“Yeah, I missed some shots, didn’t get a rhythm, but the way they defended I’ll be able to find some adjustments for Game 2 — not worried about that. Just really proud of the way that everybody contributed. You don’t win championships without the entire squad coming in and making an impact on games…That’s why we’re here, everybody having an impact on our team and the game.”
During the postgame interview, LeBron James commented on the Cavaliers’ performance.
“We got to be much better in Game 2, obviously. I think defensively we had a game plan and we followed it as much as possible—well, as great as we could for 48 minutes—we had some breakdowns, which we know we can get better with. Offensively we got to be much better, we have to be much better at moving the ball, moving bodies, they’re a great team…We look forward to the challenge again, just two days in between doesn’t help, doesn’t feel good, but it gives our body a chance to get some rest.”
Playing at the Oracle arena doesn’t feel good for any NBA team, as the Warriors have only lost three games at home during the regular season. For the Warriors, this season has been about history. With 73 regular season victories and Stephen Curry becoming the first player to win the MVP by unanimous decision, the two-time MVP all-star is looking to lead his team to back-to-back Championship victories. For the Cavaliers, this season has been about LeBron James cementing his legacy; the superstar is looking to bring the Championship home for the first time in the franchise’s history (the city of Cleveland has not seen a sports championship since the Browns of 1964).
Both teams are similar in that they correct their mistakes and find a way to walk off with a victory. Looking to Game 2, history tells us that most likely the Cavaliers will step up their performance, just like LeBron says they will. Don’t look for another weak outing by The Splash Brothers. Every athlete has an off night, but the best players don’t have them very often. The odds of Curry and Thompson under-performing in back-to-back games are not very high.
Right now, the Vegas odds have the Golden State Warriors favored by 6.5 points. Many will jump on the Warriors, since the Cavaliers lost by 15 points in Game 1, but this may be a mistake. Game 2 of the NBA Championship series should be more competitive. One simply does not bet against the Warriors when they play at the Oracle arena, but do look for a closer game this time around. NBA Finals Game 2 score prediction: Cleveland Cavaliers 107, and Golden State Warriors 112 to win the game.
[Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images]