The Cavs just didn’t have enough to force a Game 7. They fought all the way to the end, but they couldn’t get the stops when they needed to. Here’s what we learned.
• This series will always be remembered as the series Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving didn’t play. Injuries are a part of sport and you can’t use that as an excuse to why you didn’t win, but at the same time we will always wonder what could’ve been. The Warriors were able to key in on LeBron and force his supporting class to beat them. That wouldn’t have been the case if Love and/or Irving were able to play. We just have to hope they have a chance to one day show what they can do in the Finals with a healthy team.
• LeBron wasn’t aggressive enough when the Cavs needed him to be. He didn’t come out of the gate attacking the basket and it cost them in the end. The Cavaliers were behind the eight ball from the beginning of the game. LeBron needed to give them more from the onset of the game.
• The Cavs lost, even though they kept to their game plan. Cleveland did a great job of forcing players other than Curry and Thompson to step up all series. If I would’ve looked at the stats of Curry and Thompson I would’ve said the Cavs won the series. Cleveland only let Curry heat up on occasion. They did a great job of not letting him take over games (other than Game 5) like he’s capable of doing. They made players like Barbosa, Iguodala, and Livingston beat them and they did.
• Turnovers kill you. The Warriors feed off turnovers, and the Cavs gave them plenty to work with. They turned the ball over 17 times. That’s way too many in a game like this. The turnovers are what cost them in the end.
• The Finals can be lost in the first game. The whole series hinged on the first game. If the officials don’t call a travel on Mozgov in the closing moments of the 4th quarter of Game 1 and the Cavs probably win this series. We could look back at many things. They had chances to avoid overtime and an injury to Kyrie, but they couldn’t. If they found a way to win the first game in regulation there’s no doubt in my mind the Cavs are the NBA Champs.
• You need luck to win a championship. The Cavs just weren’t lucky this year. They didn’t have the breaks go their way. The injury bug got them good and they ended up on the wrong side of the 50/50 calls. The Warriors, on the other hand, were lucky this playoffs. They never faced a team that was at 100%. Every team they played had a significant injury and they had none. Steve Kerr even admitted this in his post game press conference.
• Free-throws will cost you games. It’s such a fundamental part of basketball, but at the end of the day that’s what cost them. Cleveland went 27 for 39 (69%) at the line. That’s not enough for a team that can’t score as it is.
• This team doesn’t give up. I love the way this team fights. They personify the city of Cleveland perfectly. Even though they were down by double digits late in the game, they still didn’t give up. The Cavs did everything they possibly could to end the championship draught. I can honestly say I’d rather lose with the Cavs, than win with the Warriors. This team provided us great memories and I know they’ll do it again next year.
Player of the Game: Andrea Iguodala (25/5/5)
I enjoyed this season. Thanks for reading all season long and I look forward to doing it again next year. The curse will end soon. I can guarantee that.
pic credit Cleveland.com