Can Fil-Am Jordan Clarkson help save Cleveland?
By Eddie Alinea
Wed, 06 Jun 2018
The Golden State Warriors didn’t have to capitalize on JR Smith’s big dying seconds blunder in their lopsided 122-103 Game 2 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.
Unlike in their closer 124-114 Game 1 triumph, Stephen Curry and his teammates from the Bay Area, too, didn’t need a free throw miss by Cav George Hill in gifting the Dubs a commanding 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven NBA Finals series
The sweet-shooting Curry made sure of that, catching fire from behind the arc and setting a new NBA Finals record with nine three-pointers, five of them in the fourth quarter.
The 30-year-old, thus, erased from the books the record established by Ray Allen of the Boston Celtics in 2010 as he looks headed to win the Finals MVP.
Curry needed 17 attempts to get his nine on the way to an evening high 33 total points on 11-of-26 shooting from the field.
His made three gave the Warriors a 114-93 edge late in the payoff period, prompting head coach Steve Kerr to empty the bench, obviously to save his boys energy towards the expected tougher Games 3 and 4 starting Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) at the hostile territory Quickens Loan Arena in Cleveland.
LeBron James and the Cavs, will be looking forward to also sweeping their side of the series and equal things up when they return to Oracle Arena in Oakland.
Kevin Durant added 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting, with nine boards and seven assists for the Warriors. Klay Thompson, playing despite a high ankle sprain injury contributed 20 points.
JaVale McGee started in lieu of another injured Dub, Andrei Igoudala, added 12 points and Shaun Livingston 10 points off the bench. The duo combined for a perfect 11-for-11 from the field. The Warriors shot .573 from the field and connected on 15 3s.
James was again dominating but lacked, as usual, the support of his teammates outside of Kevin Love to beat the Warriors. Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said he and his assistants have been in constant huddle to find "adjustments of what's hurting" the Cavs.
The names of Filipino-American Jordan Clarkson, Jeff Green, Kyle Korver and even Smith, cropped up as to provide the needed support for Lebron to avoid falling into a 4-0 sweep or 3-1 hole when the playoff return to the Bay Area.
Clarkson appears to be a candidate but is 3-of-13 shooting in the Finals. He's shooting, missing, and isn't passing. In the Cavs’ loss to the Warriors in Game 2, Clarkson notched his first assist since Game 4 against Toronto. He snapped a seven-game no-assist streak.
"I think he's comfortable because he keeps shooting," Lue told media men of Clarkson at practice Saturday. "He's not making shots right now. One thing about J.C., he's confident. He's not scared. So he's got to be able to step up and make his shots."
Green was a hero at the end of the Celtics series, subbing in for the injured Kevin Love. He's started slowly now in three of the Cavs' four playoff series. But his versatility on defense and his ability to get to the basket will save him against the Warriors.
As far as Korver is as a 3-point threat, Golden State has totally neutralized him.
"We know with Korver, since he's been here they (Warriors) do a good job of locking into him," Lue said. "Anything we run for him, they switch out, deny and take it away. So if he's not getting shots, it's tough on him because he's not going to beat too many people off the dribble.
"But Jeff could be more assertive, I think."
Would the series be a lot different had Dwayne Wade not been traded back to the Miami Heat?
Wade is James' best friend and a three-time champion. He signed as a free agent with the Cavs because he wanted to play in this series, and given Cleveland's dearth of bench scoring, the 16.6 points he averaged off the Heat's bench in the playoffs would look great on the Cavs.
"I put our team in position to try to win a championship, to compete for a championship," James said. "You know, it's my job to make sure that we're as focused, laser focused as possible, do my job, and continue to instill confidence into my teammates until the last horn sounds.
"That's my job. That's my responsibility. That's my obligation, and I need to continue to do that, which I will."
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