Game 2 of the NBA Finals is tonight, with one of the teams having a different look. Thanks to the fractured knee cap suffered by Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, the road team will trot out an alternate starting lineup. He is ruled out for the remainder of the NBA Finals, according to ESPN. It will be at least three to four months before Irving can resume playing basketball again.
Without Irving, the Cavaliers will be at a distinct disadvantage. Some people would even say that they are finished. There is no way that they can win the title this year.
— NBA.com (@NBAcom) June 6, 2015
The Golden State Warriors came from behind to win Game 1 of the NBA Finals. In erasing a 14-point lead, they avoided a fourth loss on their home court. That comes from a time period that has started in the regular season, carrying over to the playoffs. The Warriors made a few key adjustments, one of them included playing small ball, on the way to a 108-100 overtime win.
Shooting is one of the things the Warriors do well. Guard Stephen Curry is the best shooter and likely the best pure scorer in the NBA. Already a matchup nightmare, Curry does not have to expound much energy on defense.
Kyrie Irving’s absence means that Curry will have to defend J.R. Smith or Matthew Dellavedova. Neither of them will pose much of a threat in the NBA Finals, at least not the type of threat that Irving was. Both Smith and Dellavedova will have their moments.
— NBA (@NBA) June 6, 2015
Smith is streaky with his outside shot, but he is not afraid to shoot, and no spotlight is too bright for him. Staying along the perimeter works into the Warriors hands. The less Curry has to chase a player, the fresher he will be.
Tonight’s game will be a telling one on what to expect for the rest of the NBA Finals.
Cleveland must make adjustments tonight in Game 2. One of those adjustments must be a definitive choice on who will take over the ball handling duties.
Count on LeBron James to facilitate the Cavaliers’ offense primarily. Iman Shumpert will also do some table setting.
Will LeBron James run the point, play in the post, and score all of the points? He cannot, at least not all at once. The onus is on the Cavaliers coaching staff to figure out ways to get other players involved. That is paramount for the rest of the NBA Finals.
— NBA.com (@NBAcom) June 7, 2015
Mike Miller coming out the mothballs would not be surprising. He has handled point guard duties in the past. Using him could steal a few minutes for James to rest.
From the Warriors perspective, forward Draymond Green is going to have his hands full tonight. In Game 1 of the NBA Finals Green drew the dreaded LeBron James assignment. He will have what Yahoo Sports reported to be, an inspired opponent looking to put the team on his back.
“I said it was going to be one of the most challenging seasons of my career and this adds to it. We’re undermanned right now. But we’ve got guys in the locker room that are ready for the challenge.”
Game 1’s alteration was the Warriors having Andre Iguodala shadow James some.
The NBA Finals opened with James scoring 44 points in defeat. It is on Green and Iguodala to make sure James does not have a repeat performance.
After more than a week of buzz, the start of NBA Finals came and went out on a cautionary note. Fans were expecting an even series, now they are just hoping the games are just competitive. The adjustments made in tonight’s pivotal Game 2 will make things interesting. Unfortunately, Kyrie Irving’s injury has put a damper on the NBA Finals.
[Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images Sport]