Warriors two wins away from capturing second NBA Championship in three years

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

By Andrew Ryan

There's no stopping the Golden State Warriors when they're at their best. They're now 14-0 in the postseason, and though they won't quite be favorites to win both Games 3 and 4 as a parlay, they'll be favored in each game together back at Quicken Loans Arena against the Cleveland Cavaliers starting on Wednesday night.

One could argue that Games 1 and 2 of this series were absolutely master classes in offensive basketball for the Warriors. They didn't shoot the ball brilliantly in Game 1 and still put 113 points on the board. They didn't keep good track of the ball in Game 2 with 20 turnovers and still scored 132. Teams like that flat out aren't going to get stopped.

It's not like Cleveland has itself a bad basketball team. It's clearly the best team in the East, and for large stretches of Game 2, it looked like the two teams were on level pegging.

Kevin Love played well on Sunday night, and LeBron James had himself a triple-double by the end of the third quarter. Yet it was painfully obvious with all of the mini-spurts the Warriors went on who the superior team was by a country mile. The Cavaliers have yet to string together more than eight straight points in this series, nor have they managed more than three straight baskets. Golden State's longest stretch without scoring is under two minutes.

Now, being saddled with two massive losses in a row, is there a way the Cavaliers come back and at least find a way to draw blood at some point in this series?

Right now, we don't see it.

Step 1 is going to have to be finding some way to slow Golden State down. The Warriors shot the ball 105 times in Game 1 of this series. Cleveland shot it 100 in Game 2. Though the Cavaliers don't mind running and gunning, they have no business trying to do so against Golden State.

Early in Game 2, Cleveland worked the inside a lot, getting the ball into Love and asking LeBron to drive to the basket. That's what has to happen a heck of a lot more in Game 3 to keep this competitive. Unfortunately, all that driving takes its toll, and that's why the Cavaliers just weren't able to keep up with that in Game 2. There wasn't one 17-0 run or something like that that put that game away, but it was just a steady barrage of scoring from start to finish that got the job done.

At least if the Cavaliers can figure out how to keep Durant, Curry and Thompson from lighting things up from beyond the arc with 20 seconds left on the shot clock time and time again, there will be an opportunity to keep the crowd engaged in the game. It's almost impossible to keep Oracle Arena out of Warriors games. But you have to win your home games first and foremost when you're playing against a super team.

The oddsmakers are at least showing a degree of confidence in Cleveland's ability to come back from the dead. In spite of the fact that the Cavaliers are massive 8 to 1 underdogs in this series, they're only 2-point underdogs against a team that is now 14-0 in the postseason and hasn't lost a game in which all of its starters have played a full game in 30 tries.

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