The Golden State Warriors play with a certain sense of freedom. They are motion incarnate. They have each other's backs, they go out to dinner together. Draymond Green makes private proclamations, within the inner circle of confidence, and the team pays heed. Not every team can come back from a 3-1 deficit on the world's (second) largest stage. Not every team can win 73 games.
Of course, we've never seen any of this before. We entered into uncharted territory a long, long time ago. With each new day comes a new wrinkle in this magical season. After the hellish Thunder series, the Warriors seem to be playing with a lightness that would make this floating Nepalese monk proud.
Again, I hate to bring up the Thunder series in relation to this Cavaliers series, but... Good Lord. The space! The open lanes! The poor defense by an opponent! The lackadaisical approach to fast breaks! I feel like I'm hallucinating. I feel like I'm back in Humboldt county on the beach next to a dying fire at four in the morning circa 2005, waves lapping against the shoreline with such force I thought a thunderstorm had beset our campsite. There's no way this is the same sport!
But, again, deep breaths are of the utmost importance. Just because the Warriors blew the doors off of Games 1 and 2 (winning by the largest combined margin for the first two games in Finals history), doesn't mean that the Cavaliers are incapable of regrouping, altering strategy, and stealing a game on their home court.
And yet, I used the word "stealing." Given the outcome and flow of Games 1 and 2, a Cavaliers' win in either Game 3 or 4 would feel like a stolen moment. Would feel like an aberration rather than a move on Cleveland's part towards relevance in this series.
The contrast between the two teams could not be more stark. Even when the Warriors were down early in the second quarter, it still felt like they were up by 10 points. They were calm, collected, and communicating. The Cavaliers, on the other hand, finished most (even successful) possessions by complaining internally, pointing fingers, and blaming one another for mental lapses. And, there were many, many mental lapses.
More than anything, I walked away from Game 2 with a deep sense of happiness. The Warriors' ball movement flowed organically, each player on the floor was committed and attentive, and the points came in bunches as soon as they turned up the defensive intensity.
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So, without further ado, here are my five favorite moments from last night's butt-whooping:
5.) Andre Iguodala takes a moment out of his busy schedule to explain the finer points of the game to an interested fan
I will reserve judgement about every single aspect of this clip. Andre probably just wanted to make sure she understood exactly how their defensive switches were constructed, right?
4.) Andrew Bogut blocks the living bejezus out of the Cavs
#AndrewBogut #NBAFinalsMVP. It's a lock. Mark it down.
3.) Klay Thompson trolls the "Showtime Lakers" (and, by extension, his father)
Draymond: "I can't say we're better than the Showtime Lakers." Klay: "We're better than the Showtime Lakers." Klay's dad was one of them.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) June 6, 2016
2.) Steph Curry goes full "6 am in Cancun on spring break watching the sun rise to the east over the expansive ocean front and the drugs are still going stroooooong" mode
I approve of this dance move.
1.) This...is just beautiful
How can the Cavaliers possibly catch up with this type of movement?
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We'll see how the Cavaliers respond in Game 3. While the Warriors have dominated the series to this point, it's important to remember, again, that LeBron James is on the other side of the court. Sure, it's possible that he is about to go 2-5 in the Finals, including 0-3 in the most recent renditions. But, that doesn't lessen his threat. If he can super charge the home crowd, and if Kyrie can finally get loose and create some offense, we might see (at the very least) a competitive series.
Either way, the Warriors seem to have overcome their demons. They looked into the thought cloud of obscurity -- looked over the edge into a too-soon summer vacation -- and said, "Nah. We're good. Gonna keep balling." 3-1 down in the WCF to 2-0 up in the Finals is a hell of a swing. If I was playing with that level of swag, I'd be smiling and fooling around too.
Game 3 will be the most pivotal game of the series. If the Cavs win, then we've got ourselves a match. Otherwise, might as well start booking those post season flights and vacations and destination yoga classes or whatever you're into.