2017 NBA Finals

2017 NBA Finals: Warriors-Cavs Game 3 Roundtable

In by far the most entertaining game of the postseason, the Golden State Warriors took a commanding 3-0 lead in the NBA Finals with a 118-113 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night. Kevin Durant led the Warriors with 31 points and eight rebounds, including the go-ahead three-pointer with 45.3 seconds left in regulation. Klay Thompson added 30 points and Stephen Curry finished with 26 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists.

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving combined for 77 points in the loss for Cleveland.

Our roundtable participants:

  • Martin Soaries (@Marsoaries)
  • DJ Allen (@DJAllen23)
  • Ralph Cortes (@ralphjc0)
  • Felix John-Baptiste (@twosmooth2)

1. Are you more impressed by what you saw from the Warriors down the stretch or more disappointed by the Cavs not being able to close a game that seemed rightfully theirs?

Soaries: I feel more disappointed in the Cavs and I feel for their fans. That third quarter and most of the fourth quarter felt like it might have been exactly the shift they needed in the series. LeBron and Kyrie both went nuts and that was the game you needed to win for obvious reasons.

Allen: Definitely disappointed in the Cavaliers. Everything that we’ve been saying they needed to do to win they did but they couldn’t finish. LeBron was LeBron obviously but Kyrie Irving turned up. Their shooters knocked down shots and they were aggressive. They got to the free throw line, slowed down the game and seemed to have control. However, they couldn’t finish and it’s unfortunate.

Cortes: The way the Cavaliers handled their crunchtime execution was just disappointing. The Warriors are built to be great during this stretch of the game, so what they did was expected of them. The Cavaliers, however, could’ve avoided this type of collapse and given them a better shot to win this pivotal game.

John-Baptiste: Definitely more disappointed in the Cavs. While watching, I kept thinking just one bucket would keep the Warriors at bay and give them enough energy to close it out. A hot Kyrie and streaking LeBron went ice cold. Ugh, heartbreaking.

2. How do you think Game 4 is about to go?

Soaries: No way LeBron lets his team back down in any kind of way. They’ll look to fight for another day. Sustaining their competitive energy against Golden State’s runs is going to be even more challenging, though.

Allen: I see a blowout. I didn’t think that the Golden State Warriors would win that game but being that they did, they’re going to come out fired up in Game 4. Kevin Durant is going after this chip and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so dialed in. He’s seeking blood and so is the rest of the team. LeBron and the Cavaliers will compete but I think the Warriors will be too much for them in Game 4.

Cortes: Again, LeBron is just too great to let this series end in a sweep. LeBron will again do everything he can, while Kyrie follows and does his thing as well. Kevin Love and another player (maybe JR Smith again?) will produce a solid game for the Cavs as they try to come back from an insurmountable lead Golden State has built.

John-Baptiste: SIGH. Unfortunately, I think Game 4 will be a smoke show. The Warriors smell blood and KD is one win away from his first ever title. They will come out to blitz the Cavs and I’m not sure the Cavs will have enough mentally to fight back this time around.

3. If LeBron and the Cavs are about to be swept, do you think they’ll be looking to make some kind of big and bold move this offseason?

Soaries: I do. That whole Paul George thing has been floating around the last couple of days. I don’t know about that, but hey maybe. If they get swept they have no choice but to try and shake things up and make an upgrade. The truth is, even some smaller level tweaks can help them improve, but in the event of a sweep I think they might consider some larger scale moves.

Allen: Definitely. GM LeBron James will put some bugs in management’s ear about getting a big name and who they should get. Paul George is out their lingering and so is Carmelo Anthony. So I don’t know which way they will go but I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a major move from the Cavaliers this offseason.

Cortes: You would have to think that they will, given that they’ve seen how much firepower Golden State truly has. It would be wise to add more firepower to be able to go toe to toe with a juggernaut like the Warriors. It could be a move for Carmelo Anthony, or even as Allen and Soaries alluded to, Paul George.

John-Baptiste: Of course. Super team is the name of the game now right? KD went to an already established juggernaut, and the Cavs needs to fight fire with fire. It remains to be seen what they can or would like to do, but 1 or 2 bold moves could shift things.

4. If you’re Cleveland what’s a drastic move you can make in Game 4, with your back now dangerously against the wall?

Soaries: Don’t play Tristan Thompson at all unless you have some kind of control of the game. Play LeBron at center, get Channing Frye out there along with Kyle Korver and J.R. Smith for your best shooting lineups and shoot 50 threes (shot 44 in Game 3).

Allen: Play LeBron James 48 minutes. That might not be that drastic but you can’t afford to not have him on the floor. I can’t express it enough that the ball has to go through him every possession. The Cavaliers have to run their sets instead of relying on isolation possessions. Kyrie Irving had a great game yesterday but that isolation ball is a hit or miss. You have to run sets, back screens, and pick-and-rolls to keep the defense honest and to expose the mismatches.

Cortes: I agree with DJ here. They might as well keep LeBron in this game for the entire time if that’s what it’s gonna take for Cleveland to just stick with Golden State the duration of the game. As seen in G3, even for a small amount of time that LeBron isn’t on the floor, the Cavs let the Warriors go on a mini run. They can’t let Golden State do that again as they would have a difficult time digging themselves out of that.

John-Baptiste: Take a risk with your bench. Start Shumpert in place of Tristan Thompson and come right out the gates sprinting. Shumpert is as good a finisher as Tristan and has provided much more of a spark and energy thus far this series. Tristan has been the epitome of non-existent and hasn’t earned a penny of that offseason contract.

5. Does LeBron James get some kind of pass if he does get swept by this particular team?

Soaries: No way. Plenty of people picked LeBron and the Cavs to win this series because the Cavaliers are also a really good basketball team. To not win one game would be pretty unacceptable.

Allen: Nope! No pass from me. Did he play great, yes but a sweep is a sweep. This would put him at 3-5 in the NBA Finals with a sweep on his record. That’s ugly if you ask me.

Cortes: Yes he deserves some kind of pass. Key word: some. He has been the one constant player for Cleveland that has shown up, but at the same time, LeBron is way too great to be swept, even if it was a team like these Warriors.

John-Baptiste: Yes and no. LeBron is blessed with the talent around him. However, there’s but so much you can do averaging a triple-double when your supporting cast isn’t showing up. You can have all the talent in the world but when you’re giving them wide open jumpers you can’t actually shoot them for those individuals. The man is doing all he could and for his production, you can’t say he didn’t show up or choked. Salute.

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