I’d like to preface everything by saying that this isn’t intended to be any sort of in-depth analysis of the first two games of the Raptors’ first round playoff matchup against the Indiana Pacers. This is more or less my meandering thoughts of what I’ve seen in the past two games, and what I would like to going into game 3.
In the below video I’ll touch on DeMar DeRozan’s struggles, Jonas Valančiūnas’ superb play, and what the Raptors can do to stop Paul George and the rest of the Pacers.
With the devastating news of Cleveland Cavaliers’ starting point guard and three-time NBA All-Star Kyrie Irving’s season-ending injury, the logical assumption would be that the Cavs would be the team needing to play with a sense of urgency.
To me, this is not the case. The Golden State Warriors have a window that is wide open and they must do what is necessary to become a champion. Now is the time to show up at Oracle Arena ready to play some ball. The Warriors cannot come into Game 2 with any sort of relaxed mindset. The Cavs, who were already injured, now have a gushing wound to tend to – and are vulnerable.
I want to see two-time NBA All-Star and reigning league MVP Stephen Curry and his backcourt partner, first-time NBA All-Star Klay Thompson, come onto the court and play to the best of their abilities. Nothing is guaranteed in sports, especially on such a high profile stage. The Warriors had a slight advantage coming into The Finals, but now they’ve been given a boost.
Unfortunately the boost came at the expense of Kyrie Irving’s first trip to the NBA Finals. This year’s postseason has been riddled with injuries, so it doesn’t even come as much of a surprise that this will be part of the NBA Finals storyline.
Lebron James, on his ridiculous fifth straight appearance in an NBA Final, put up 44 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists in a Game 1 loss – with 23 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists from Kyrie Irving. If you’re the Warriors, you give Lebron his 40, 50, hell, 60 points a game and you put the clamps on the other four players on the court. One man, even the best player in the world, cannot beat a team on his own. It’s even harder when it’s against a team that plays great basketball and has incredible talent.
Now is the time for the Warriors to come out of the corner swinging, looking for that knockout punch.