Three games into the NBA Finals and we haven’t had a competitive game yet. The home team has thoroughly outclassed the road team each time, which means that if the Cleveland Cavaliers want to have any shot at winning this series, they’re going to need to flip the script at some point on the road.
Before they can do that, though, they have to hold serve one more time — and LeBron James knows it.
As superbly as the Cavs played on Wednesday night, they know well enough not to expect flat performances from Steph Curry much longer, to say nothing of the egg Draymond Green laid in Game 3. Even if the Cavs do take Game 4, they will have to play several degrees better in virtually every facet of the game than they have on the road so far to steal a victory in Oakland. That’s just to win the series, though — if Cleveland can’t even push the Warriors to six games while completely healthy, they’ll have to ask serious questions about the core of this roster.
Kevin Love, from the sound of things, just barely missed playing in Game 3, and the Cavs had perhaps their best all-around performance in the playoffs with him out of the lineup. He’ll likely be back for Game 4, but with the stakes as high as they are, one has to wonder how much he’ll play if the smaller Cavs starting five with the resurgent Richard Jefferson continues to look good.
After all, like LeBron said, it’s do or die.