Entering the NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors were supposed to win the series. Six games or seven, didn’t matter. After Game 1, they were supposed to sweep the series. Win it in five, at most.
Now? Now they can’t buy a win. The Warriors have lost back-to-back games to the Cleveland Cavaliers by a combined seven points and trail 2-1 in the series.
Game 4 is Thursday in Cleveland at 9 p.m. ET.
What kind of response will the Warriors muster?
“Well, here’s what I’m concerned but at the same time optimistic about if you are a Warriors fan,” NBA-TV analyst Jared Greenberg said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “The first is, why have they been so inconsistent and had trouble offensively? I think the obvious answer is give Cleveland some credit. They’ve done a really nice job on Golden State. Then the optimistic part of it is, Golden State, by far, was the best offense in basketball. They have the most depth, they have the most balance, they can score form the outside and they can score from the inside. This whole notion that jump-shooting teams can’t win championships – that’s fine, but you’re not talking about Golden State because they’ve won plenty of games this year when they haven’t taken advantage of the three ball or not been very efficient.”
So, what’s been the problem, you ask? Well, it may be what we thought it was all along, even before the series began.
“Maybe there’s something to (what) we talked about coming into the series (but) then we kind of forgot about after Game 1 because Golden State went up 1-0,” Greenberg said. “They’re trying to become the first team since Jordan’s ’91 Bulls to win a title with having no prior Finals experience on their roster. So there is something to be said for being on this stage. Yeah, the court’s the same, the basket’s the same, but you’re dealing with the media a bit differently, there’s a lot more pressure on you and I think maybe that’s getting to them a little bit. I think they may be pressing just a little bit. You see that in the possessions offensively for Golden State when they’re tying to rush thing, when they’re not having that pace and rhythm that Steve Kerr so often talks about.”
Golden State shot 39.8 percent from the floor in Game 2 and 40.0 percent from the floor in Game 3. Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green combined for seven points on 2-of-18 shooting Tuesday. Barnes was held scoreless.
“I think Cleveland’s done a great job,” Greenberg said. “But ultimately, you’re not going to slow down Steph Curry and Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green the way you have. Now granted, Klay Thompson had a great game (in Game 2), but wait for that game when three or four of these guys get going and Golden State scores 115 points in regulation and they win the game.”