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SECOND OVERTIME

By Homer D. Sayson


No KO yet but Cavs are clearly down and dizzy

PhilBoxing.com
Wed, 08 Jun 2016



CHICAGO -- When Game 1 hero Shaun Livingston swished two free throws with 5:23 left in the fourth quarter of Game 2 on Sunday night, the Golden State Warriors had erected a 100-68 lead, putting the contest's outcome well beyond doubt.

If Game 2 of the 2016 NBA Finals were a boxing match, an abrupt referee's intervention would have been required to stop the bloodshed. Down 32 points, the hapless Cleveland Cavaliers were clearly broken, standing on unsteady legs while offering only token resistance through faint, harmless swings.

But since pro basketball mandates that all 48 minutes must be played, we had to endure the remainder of what turned out to be a 110-77 rout. And if you think that was rough, just imagine what the Cavs are going through.

Down 0-2 in this best-of-7 Finals, the Oracle Arena, home of the Warriors, has been a house of horrors for the Cavs, who lost Game 1 by 15 points and Game 2 by 33. Cleveland shot a miserable 38.5 percent from the field in Game 1 before getting worse in Game 2 with a 35.4 percent clip.

Hopefully, the Cavs can find their offensive groove back now that the series shifts to the Quicken Loans Arena for Games 3 and 4.

​The problem is, the Warriors have beaten the Cavaliers in every facet of the game that playing at home may not be enough for the shell-shocked Cleveland. Also, the Warriors are a terrific road team, one that staved off elimination by beating the OKC Thunder in Oklahoma in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals.

With 4-time MVP and 2-time champion LeBron James leading the charge, it's a little to early to dismiss Cleveland just yet, no matter how tempting. But even King James knows that the task at hand is a mammoth job that demands for every single Cav to be better and play as a group pulling on the same rope.

​"Obviously, not much is working, especially offensively. Defensively, we've been good at times and then at times we just looked like, okay we're a step slow. We messed up on the coverage. We don't get back or we're just one step behind where we should be," LeBron said while assessing his team's poor play which has led to a 2-0 deficit.

​Compounding Cleveland's woes is the fact that the other two pieces of their so-called Big 3 are not playing well enough to reinforce LeBRon's usual all-around duties.

Kyrie Irving has scored 36 points in two games but he has more turnovers (6) than assists (5) and is doing a poor job orchestrating Cleveland's offense. Kevin Love, after having a solid 17 points and 12 rebounds in Game 2 was held to 5 points and 3 rebounds in Game 2.

Needless to say, the Cavs need Kyrie and Kevin to light it up, just like they did early in the playoffs where they virtually entered the Finals unscathed.

The Warriors, meanwhile, are upbeat, winning even without the monstrous effort of reigning back--to-back MVP Steph Curry. With their offense clicking, their defense stifling, and their confidence sky high, the defending champs are ready to knock out the reeling Cavs.

Photo: A dejected LeBron James of Cleveland Cavaliers walks towards the tunnel after a lopsided loss against the Golden State Warriors in Game 2 of their Best of Seven NBA Finals at the Oracle Arena in Oakland Monday.



Click here for a complete listing of columns by this author.

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