Expected to be a match of two teams at full strength, 2017 NBA Finals have been all Warriors so far, with Golden State taking an easy 2-0 lead. As the series switches to Cleveland for Game 3, the Cavaliers have little room for error if they want to go back to it.
How to watch: ABC will broadcast the 2017 NBA Finals Game, but you can also broadcast online at WatchESPN.com
Here’s what you can expect in the third game:
Do we slow it down?
Rhythm is the most important factor for Cleveland. The Warriors were the fourth fastest team in 2017 NBA Finals. This season, with an average of 102.5 possessions for 48 minutes according to NBA.com, while the Cavaliers were in 16th place at 98.4. In Games 1 and 2, the Warriors ignited the jets and forced a dizzying pace of 105.5 possessions per game, just over 10 plus a game that teams averaged at the end of last year. Even with LeBron James and others insisting there is no need to slow things down, the fact is that the Cavaliers have not been able to keep up with the Warriors so far, and the pace seems to be the best they could control.
The Cavs Need Kyrie Irving’s Best
While James has been his typical dominant self, what the Cavaliers are losing most of their deficit-eliminating performance at the Games 3 to 7 late last year is Kyrie Irving almost equaling James in terms of production. Irving has averaged 21.5 points and 4.5 attends a game in Games 1 and 2, but as the Cavaliers were wiping out the Warriors 2-0 lead last season, he averaged 30.8 points per game and shot 50.8 percent from the field in five matches. The star guard is working his way through a knee injury, which makes his production commendable, but Cleveland will need more of Irving or someone else as James still has to be able to solo the team again in the Games so far.
Have the Warriors reached their maximum?
The Warriors continue to say they could play better, and considering they have not played particularly well in the first half of either game, they are probably right. If they can avoid getting stuck by a Cleveland team looking to make the games slower and physically, and can see more production of Klay Thompson, who came out of his fall in the second game, there is an opportunity to improve.
Cavs must win rebound battle
For all the talk of the Warriors’ Stars, the most shocking statistics in the series may be that the Warriors of low size are currently leading the rebounding battle, with 103 to 100 Cleveland. In the last two finals between these teams the Cavaliers obtained dominant rebounds in Both ends of the court of Tristan Thompson. But it has been almost completely neutralized by Golden State, with only 8 rebounds across two games to go with 8 points. Kevin Love and James have recovered well, combining for 27 a game, but Draymond Green, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant have won their fair share of battles for the ball, too. Each of them has an average of 8 or more rebounds per game.