It was a Christmas Day classic between the Warriors and Cavaliers on Sunday. The game was intense, had a playoff feeling and it very well could have been a preview of the 2017 NBA Finals.
The Cavaliers rallied from a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit and got a tough fadeaway jumper from Kyrie Irving with three seconds remaining to give Cleveland a 109-108 win at Quicken Loans Arena.
If these teams play again in June it will be the first time in NBA history when the same two teams played in three consecutive NBA Finals.
Here are some of the topics that came up on the show:
–Many Warriors fans felt Golden State received a “bad whistle” as they say. There were complaints about the non-technical foul on LeBron James for hanging on the rim, for no call being made on the final possession when Kevin Durant tripped after contact with Richard Jefferson and other “phantom” calls here and there.
Maybe. Maybe not. That’s not the kind of thing I like to focus on when there are plenty of other things to pay attention to.
–The Warriors were up 94-80 with 9 1/2 minutes remaining and let it slip away. They also committed two turnovers in the game’s final 42 seconds — after they had a three-point lead. Whether the officials were bad or not, it wasn’t them who blew a double-digit, fourth-quarter lead.
The Warriors committed 20 turnovers, and Draymond Green had six of them.
–Is something going on with Stephen Curry? There seems to be a sense out there that Curry is not playing particularly well. Is he deferring too much to Durant? Is he looking to fit in rather than take charge? Is he being aggressive enough? These are all legitimate questions as it pertains to the two-time MVP.
–Kyrie Irving is very similar to Curry, in a way. He can be relatively quiet for three quarters, then make big shot after big shot in the final 12 minutes. Irving wasn’t playing particularly well against the Warriors — until the fourth quarter. And don’t sleep on Irving’s seven steals. The guy made plays.
–Let’s face it, the Warriors are mostly a finesse team. They like to operate in space and create separation — on a shot or off-ball cut. Most likely the one thing you’re going to have to do against them is play them tightly — and that’s what the Cavaliers do. They just don’t give the Warriors’ perimeter players a lot of time and space to do things.
The Warriors’ three best scorers — Curry, Klay Thompson and Durant — are all relatively slight weight-wise. So, yes, it makes sense to be as physical as you can be. The Cavs did a nice job of getting the Warriors to play a little faster than they wanted to.