After the Cav’s let the Raptors get back into the series on Monday, many people, myself included, considered the possibility of a LeBron-less finals. LeBron erased any of those doubts last night. The Cav’s will now head back to Toronto after their complete blowout victory, to try and seal up the series, and prepare for whatever beast comes out of the West.
The Thunder look to do the same tonight; traveling back to the Bay Area for game 5. The Thunder could very well close up their series tonight. As great as they have been playing it will take a great performance from the splash bros to get in their way. The Warriors have struggled to defend the Thunder all series long, and i believe the only way they stand a chance, is to have one of their explosive offensive nights. With solid defenders like Serge Ibaka, and Steven Adams down low, the Warriors are going to have to find their stroke again, because they aren’t going to get much to fall in the paint.
With the Warriors and the Raptors looking to stay alive, who has the better chance of forcing a game 7?
I think it is clear that the Warriors are absolutely exhausted. The shots aren’t falling, they’re out of sync, and they are losing. It seems that everything they had to give, was given during the regular season, leading me to ask, “was the record worth it?”
The Warriors big 3 of Curry, Thompson, and Green only missed 6 combined games during the regular season. Curry missing 3 games, Thompson 2, and Green 1. I think the lack of energy has showed, especially against a team like the Thunder who are constantly running the floor; led by the “energy bunny” himself: Russell Westbrook.
Draymond Green, the heart of the Warriors offense, has completely disappeared under Kevin Durant’s length, and athleticism. Green has averaged 11 ppg, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists in this series, shooting an awful 33% from the field. It isn’t just Green who has struggled; Stephen Curry is reportedly being bothered by his right knee, which he injured against the Rockets in round 1. Steph’s poor play, and lingering knee injury show how exhausted he is. Steve Kerr is probably regretting not resting his guys during the regular season. Although I expect the Warriors to bounce back, and put up a fight in game 5, I can’t see them forcing this series to 7 games.
On the other side of the bracket the Cleveland Cavaliers made an absolute statement last night, destroying the Raptors by 38 points! They were led by Kevin Love who scored 25 points, followed by Kyrie, and LeBron who both put in 23 each. The great play by the big 3, combined with very solid defense, led to this very easy win. Demar DeRozan was held to 14 points, while Kyle Lowry only had 13; 40 less points than the duo scored in game 4. Both guards were visibly frustrated, as they missed open looks, and failed to get stops on defense. Demar’s frustration boiled over midway through the second quarter, when he drove to the basket throwing up a wild shot in which he believed he was fouled, and wound up getting a technical. He would never recover after that.
Let’s not forget, that the Raptors have played 6 more games than the Cav’s. Going to 7 games in the first round, and the second round. The Raptors, like the Warriors, may be totally exhausted at this point.
However, I think game 5 was just a situation where the Cav’s were on fire right from the get go, and the Raptor’s weren’t. I don’t expect the Cav’s to come out as hot in game 6, and I also don’t expect Lowry & Derozan to play so poorly. I believe that the Raptors will bounce back in game 6, and don’t be surprised if they force a 3rd series in a row, to a game 7.