Blogtable: Thoughts on these Finals so far?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


BLOGTABLE: Thoughts on these Finals? | Best arena atmosphere? | Next player-turned-analyst?



VIDEOMini-Movie from Game 3 of The Finals

> After three games of these NBA Finals, what strikes you most about this series?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: That we’re seeing a new level of special from LeBron James. It’s possible his heavy lifting in this series might still go for naught, but already he has taken his game to new heights by boosting his run-of-the-mill teammates — with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love out — right along with him. I contend I saw something click, in him and in them, from the start of the Chicago semifinal series. They started it licking the grievous wound of losing Love and finished with a confidence and belief — most notably, James in guys like Matthew Dellavedova, Tristan Thompson and Iman Shumpert — that made what’s happening now seem downright reasonable.

Fran Blinebury, NBA.comIt’s easy and incredibly tempting to say the transformation of Matthew Dellavedova into a minor god and I will. But even more so is the total commitment to the task and all-in attitude by LeBron James. Jalen Rose described his first two games of the series as “monstropolis” and then James went out in Game 3 and did everything but breath fire. We might be witnessing the greatest Finals performance ever.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: The difference in focus. Maybe it’s even emotional toughness. The Cavaliers are locked in. They are playing with an attitude that goes beyond typical confidence. The Warriors have not played with a champion’s mindset most of the playoffs. That has continued into The Finals, where Cleveland has been able to exploit it like no previous opponent. The best part about the Cavs so far is the worst part about the Warriors.

Shaun Powell, NBA.com: Steph Curry’s shooting issues. It’s the No. 1 factor in The Finals, the biggest worry for the Warriors and perhaps a mystery to the Cavs as well. Maybe Curry broke the spell with his searing second half on Tuesday, but until he does that for four quarters, you wonder if his 2015 Finals will be as surprisingly lacking as LeBron James‘ 2011 Finals, when he shrank unexpectedly against the Dallas Mavericks.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: The Cavs have flipped the switch defensively like no team I’ve seen before. They’re the lowest ranked defensive team (20th in the regular season) to make The Finals since the league started counting turnovers in 1977, and they probably benefitted from some opponents playing sub-par offense in the first three rounds. But they have answered all the questions through the first three games, holding the Warriors (the No. 2 offense in the regular season) under a point per possession. There was one stretch of the third quarter in Game 3, where they were just on a string and anytime a Warrior got near the basket, he was turned away. In the last 37 years, the only three teams to win a championship after ranking outside the top 10 in defensive efficiency in the regular season — the 1988 Lakers, the 1995 Rockets and the 2001 Lakers — had won the title the year before. So this has been a remarkable turnaround by a team that doesn’t have that experience and that was never all that focused on that end of the floor.

Sekou Smith, NBA.com: The frivolous nature of the Warriors’ play on this stage remains a stunner. Where is the urgency? Coach Steve Kerr warned them and made sure to have Luke Walton do the same. They did not want a crew without an Finals experience showing up here and assuming that this was going to be like anything else they’ve done as a group. And yet, three games in, the Warriors still don’t seem to get it. They remind me of the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012. They assume there will be another chance to reach this point and chase that Larry O’Brien Trophy. There are no such guarantees, though.

Ian Thomsen, NBA.com: The importance of experience and hunger is crucial. The older stars tend to be hungrier. The 2008 Celtics were hungrier than the Lakers. The 2011 Mavericks were hungrier than the Heat. The 2012 Heat were hungrier than the Thunder. LeBron James understands how difficult it is to win the championship more so than Stephen Curry. Maybe Curry will have learned from this experience in time to lead his team back to the championship. Or, maybe he needs to lose this Finals in order to come back as LeBron did from his own loss in 2011.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: Just how little we actually know. Seems like we all watched the Warriors romp through the regular season and thought they’d just continue on during the postseason, but they reached the NBA Finals and, at least in Games 2 and 3, ran into a brick wall that they don’t seem to be able to solve. The Warriors were so dominant during the regular season, but now all that seems out the window. The Cavs have junked it up, slowed things down and tipped what seemed like a mismatched series in the completely opposite direction.

21 Comments

  1. Curious Observer says:

    Sooooo……now what do all of you GSW doom forecasters have to say about the status of this series? Diego? I guess the Cavs can’t do it in 5 or 6 as you predicted. Is it 7 now? Skyhook….it looks like small ball is besting your ‘big inside can still win’ theory. Has GSW won their last game? Do you really think The Cavs can win another in Oakland?

  2. TheWhiteFang says:

    I really don’t know what the Warriors are doing right now. Weren’t they motivated to win a championship? The Warriors aren’t showing a championship worthy effort right now. In game 3 the 1st half the warriors just shot the ball and there was no warrior to get the rebound. In the 2nd half I saw at least 2-3 warriors trying to get the offensive rebound.The Cavs certainly are showing championship worthy effort and plays, but if the Warriors don’t compete and put in more effort, they aren’t going to play better and are definitely not going to win the series.

  3. BBALL FAN says:

    I’ve followed Lebron since he graduated just miles away from me the same year… Love the guy. However I don’t think he is playing any different then he always has, he controls the ball (a hog at times) and runs what he wants on the offense. I think what has happened is the role players that were ‘disregarded’ on this team have stepped up. This only makes him LOOK better, the same goes for his D. He makes good plays, he will ‘slow’ his guy down for sure. However the role players behind him and shut down and only improved this defense. I’m sure his mindset/leadership has helped the team to get to this level, but no matter how much you preach… a person has to do the work. As a team they have all individually done that work, and so far are looking great. They could be up 3-0 minus a last second (bad) fade away miss by LJ.

  4. Hoopwaiian says:

    What I see is Michael. Magic and Mailman rolled into one. Outside of Wilt, the most dominant player to hit the floor since. On both ends. Unguardable. The whole world knows Cleveland’s offense. Give Lebron the ball and clearout. Your at his mercy. Controls the tempo thruout the game. With the game close and under 2 minutes, I could hear him counting possesions. They all belonged to him. Even diving for the loose ball at the end with Curry in the mix up, he was able to backhand the ball to Dellavadevil. Sank the last 4 free throws to seal the deal. I was waitng for this Lebron to come out 3 or 4 years ago! Some guys are just late.

  5. Gilbs Gibe says:

    Cavs will win game 4!

  6. Mark says:

    Not a Cavs fan not a LBJ fan , but I love the NBA , played HSB and love the game. However what LBJ and the Cavs are doing is PERFECT , if they finish this of it will not be a fluke it will not be luck , it will just be a better TEAM winning !!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Warriors are a dirty ,fouling team , they are baby-faces, and the NBA darlings , but they commit a lot of fouls!!! They are a small Jump shooting team , no real team defense, in reality Cavs should be up 3-0 , we all know that !!!! So If the Cavs finish this , I personally will be a a new fan ,of the cavs and of LBJ, and in my list he will be one of the Best of all time he is AMAZING , GO CAVS !!!!!!

  7. Kunstkin says:

    In game three, what I saw was a team playing extremely strong defense that gave them a twenty-point advantage (that was the main reason anyway) and another one trying to catch up by shooting three-pointers. Not exactly what I’m looking for in an NBA championship series…The Warriors have played the most attractive basketball in recent years, I think they deserve a title…

  8. VM says:

    Experience is a major factor in the NBA finals and it is proving true so far. Warriors failed in the 3 point shots as they have been good at it during the regular season. This is a very young team that needs to concentrate more on controlling the ball limiting the turn overs. Many times I saw lack of team work especially among the bench players. However, I am surprised that they were able to defeat a stronger team Rockets and they seem to be weak against a not that strong Cavaliers. Well, Lebron James seems to be determined to take the team to championship. Wait and see.

  9. anothercavsfan says:

    This Cavs team is playing with a lot of heart.

    People think it’s Lebron’s stats that are the most impressive. They are impressive but Lebron, Kobe, Curry, MJ etc… they’ve all had equally if not more impressive performances than these.

    What’s most impressive is how every Cav player is trying to give their own individual best performances, on offence and on defense, and it’s all happening at the same time.

    Maybe it is luck, but the naive believer in me wants to say it’s heart.

  10. DIEGO says:

    im not surprised of what is happening,,, as i have predicted “if the cavs win game 1 its a sweep but if not it will be cavs in 5 or 6) as we can see this is the true start of a lebron era…..it all started in the play offs, if u watch all there games, from there u will observe the greatness this team has grown..from defense to team basketball..with lebron making the plays they are unstoppable…if we compare this to MJ era,,G.S is like the UTAH jazz having a great duo (stockton to malone = the splash brothers) going against the best player in the world..and as the previous results the best player in the world era has always gone to the top….””GAME 4 will be a steph and lebron show where both will be scoring 30+ points however as i have said its lebrons era therefore the cavs will win 104 – 93….its because this time curry will be firing at the first 3 quarters and will be cooled at the 4th….kalas…..

  11. Alex Mclife says:

    Curry is a very very good shooter and player but James is dominating. The cavs can.let Curry do his thing but shackle the rest of the team, it will be enough to win the title.

  12. Indiana'sownLarryBird says:

    Man i see the comments on here and i must say Lebron was always judged more then any player ever, but this guy just clutch from the start to the finish of the game, His defense i mean, i’ve seen this guy make more Defensive play’s with the game or championship or season on the line then any other player in the history of this great game, forget the last shot with time running out ok he’s missed a few of those, If he wins this no other player Jordan, Magic, Bird, Shaq, Kobe, can find a player who won with less. Unreal.

  13. Ferdinand Nicolas says:

    D. Lee, high basketball IQ!, experience, focus, hungrier, ready 2 prove he doesnt belong to the bench. GS, has deeper bench thou, aside from lee.

  14. TruthTeller says:

    LeBron is, indeed, an amazing player.
    In Game 2, they took points off the board for GS, because of a non-existent goaltend.
    Game 3, Steph Curry didn’t go to the line once? Not once?

    I’m a Spurs fan. No preference between these two. But I just turned off the NBA for the last time. I wish LeBron well with #3.

  15. dan says:

    It’s all about heart and desire. That’s really the only thing separating these two teams right now. One team wants it more than the other one and considering that the Warriors were very heavily favoured going into this, you would think they would want this more than the Cavs. The Warriors have zero inside presence as Andrew Bogut has vanished and Draymond Green has been nullified offensively at least. On the other side you see and extremely motivated Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov fighting for every single ball challenging every single shot defensively and putting their bodies on the line to get to the rim every time. Only Warriors big man who showed any desire to even get to the rim was David Lee in Game 3. Maybe they should play him more because as long as they keep playing both Bogut and Green and getting nothing out of them, this series will be over in 5.

    The Warriors still have a shot but they need to wake up from their slumber. It’s an NBA championship, if you cannot get up for an NBA championship tilt then what’s the point of getting to the finals?

  16. If the Cavs got the pieces they needed in the names of Mozgov, Smith and Shumpert earlier this season, they would top Warriors’ 67. Point is the regular season wins of Warriors doesn’t mean they are better than the Cavs. But this is an advantage for the Cavs. Warriors mindset is they are better.. and they are paying the price.

  17. mrgavel says:

    There is no way to measure a player’s heart. Right now the Cavs are showing a lot more heart than the Warriors. The Warriors, especially Curry, Green, Thompson, and Barnes are coming across as players who think they are entitled to win the Finals and it is a imposition that they actually have to worry about the Cavaliers. I hope they keep this attitude until the Cavs win.

  18. Basketball Fan says:

    It sounds as if Kerr did his job in trying to prepare his young team for the Finals, both mentally and game-wise. This is an incredibly young, inexperienced team that’s in shell-shock. They’re slowly trying to dig their way out and play as they have played all season but time is of the essence. Two more strikes and they’re out; they will have to wait for another season to see this opportunity again. I really like the starters and bench for the Warriors and hope they can get back to where they were.

  19. SkyHook says:

    One thing I’m seeing is size and power vs. shooting. The Cavs are taking it to the hoop, powering with Lebron, Mosgov, Tristan Thompson, and JR. Smith and Shumpert are also big. Inside play can still win in the NBA.

  20. Paul says:

    I agree. I counted the Cavs out against the Bulls and even against the Hawks. What LBJ is doing has not been done before, only one all star and into the finals. Previous debates have always been about the supporting cast, emphasis on the team to winning championships, no one can do it alone. Have we all really under estimated the Cavs? No, we have under estimated LBJ.

    He is not GOAT but perhaps has confirmed that he is 2nd GOAT even if the Cavs don’t win and the door is open to challenge for GOAT. MJ and LBJ both have great stats for their respective positions. LBJ’s FG% is a bit low and shooting way more than usual. If he has a good shooting game (>50%) he may get a 50 point triple double!!

    I am worried the Cavs will run out of steam and injuries will accumulate so hard to win the series. But now I am routing for them because I want to see something different and will go down in history.

    Live by the James and win by the James.

  21. Houston Fan says:

    LeBron is hands down the best NBA player of all time in his own unique way. Who else has ever led a mediocre team twice into finals? This time he is actually on the verge of delivering a championship because of his maturity and leadership skills that complements so well with his team first approach. There is no need to compare who is the GOAT overall, LBJ is the GOAT of small forwards!