Irving saves his best for when Cavs face Finals elimination

Kyrie Irving FTR.jpg

They stress out the greatest basketball player of his generation.

"You want to do exactly what we have done, win the first two and get a split", Steve Kerr said. Last July, when he announced his decision to join the already star-studded Warriors on the Players' Tribune, he attributed the choice to personal and professional growth.

The Warriors escaped Cleveland with a 1-1 split, and a return to Cleveland would mean a game 7. They broke the Finals record for most three-pointers in a game in the THIRD QUARTER.

"Of those 24, I would say probably 10 of them were just mental breakdowns and giving them open looks", Curry said.

But the Warriors have always created suspicions that they give in to their comfort level a bit too readily, believing, sometimes prematurely, that they can break a team's will at will. LeBron and his teammates played loose, and it could be seen in plays such as J.R. Smith's 30-foot jumper.

The Warriors were 15-0 before losing last Friday in a game that included a few questionable calls, plenty of scoring and nearly as much trash talk, including Durant and LeBron going to nose-to-nose. Their 3-point field-goal percentage defense, 33.5, is tops among all teams that advanced past the second round. All LeBron did was put up 45 points on 19-of-26 shooting and then came back in Game 7 and scored 31 points and 12 rebounds to send the Heat to the NBA Finals, where they beat Oklahoma City in five games. "Just try to get in the paint, make plays, and not let them try to take me out of it". When he's extending the floor and hitting those 3s, it opens the floor for everybody. Because I'm a lot smarter than people think.

Part of that expectation may come from the change of venue.

I know it took a near-perfect performance and a bad (by their standards) shooting night by Golden State for Cleveland to win Game 4.

"And when those opportunities come, then you kill it". You get punched in the face you want to respond. We got to take this game and do it with efficiency, competitive defense and alertness and awareness for 48 minutes.

He was asked whether this might be the game the Warriors feel they must get. The first and most obvious difference is the presence of Kevin Durant - the man Golden State signed last summer to ensure that the scenario that played out a year ago wouldn't happen again. "So give Cleveland credit for their offense".

Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue pointed to the pace, as Irving is pushing the ball up the court and making moves before the defenders can dig in.

"But on the other side of that, we kind of let them". "We can't worry about the games that happened before, or we can't worry about what will happen in the future, we just got to stay in the moment and help each other out each and every play". But not since 1951 has a team down 3-0 forced a seventh game in the finals. Their attempts at closing out the postseason a ideal 16-0 failed thanks to LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and the Cleveland Cavaliers running them out of Quicken Loans Arena.

There was even a freakish moment in which it looked like Draymond Green had earned his second technical foul only for it to be noted that his technical in the first half really belonged to coach Steve Kerr. Cleveland repeatedly attacked Curry in pick and roll situations, and he did little to discourage those attacks.


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