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Tag Archives: Steph Curry
KENNY’S KEY TO A CAVS CHAMPIONSHIP WIN IN GAME 7
SURVIVE THE WAVE – The wave of emotion and energy the Warriors will get from, and play with, because of their home crowd in the 1st quarter is going to be HUGE. The Cavs must be able to handle it, not be overwhelmed by it and keep the game close early on. Once they do that, it becomes just another basketball game on the road. Then you settle in and do what you’ve done that last 2 games!
THE “J’ WILL SHOW THE WAY – If LeBron’s jumper is falling, the Warriors are in big trouble! If LBJ is hitting that “J” from mid-range and a few from 3-point country, Golden State cannot guard him. That in turn will open up drives to the basket for “The King”, as well as set up his teammates for plenty of open shots. To say that LeBron James jumper is the key to the Cavaliers winning the NBA Championship may sound crazy, but it just may come down to that, because the Warriors are going to give him that shot early on to see if he can make it. If he shows he can, goodnight Golden State and hello World Championship! If not, the Warriors defense will settle in and may be tough to score on.
PHYSICAL and MENTAL TOUGHNESS – These 2 things have really played a major part in each team winning their 3 games in this series. Whichever teams comes out and throws the first punch, plays aggressive for 48 minutes at both ends of the floor and can handle the pressure, the ups and downs, the bad calls and bad officiating better mentally, will have a decided edge in this winner take all Game 7!
VALUE THE BASKETBALL – Don’t turn it over. It’s real simple. If you at least get a shot at the hoop on offense good things can happen. If you turn it over, you miss a chance at scoring, and you give Golden State a chance to get easy baskets at the other end. The team that takes better care of the ball will be in great shape to win this game.
THE BIG 2 and WHO? – You know what you’re going to get from LeBron. Unless his foot injury is more serious than they’re letting on, we pretty much have a good idea of what to expect from Kyrie. But who will be that 3rd scorer the Cavs need to win a Title? Will Kevin Love break out of his series long slump and put points on the board and grab some rebounds? Will JR Smith provide that scoring punch from long distance? Will Tristan Thompson step up big again like he did in the Game 6 win with another double/double? One of those guys or someone else we’re not expecting has to help out James and Irving in the scoring department to help Cleveland bring home its first ever Larry O’Brien trophy and NBA Championship.
DEFENSE – We all know defense wins championships. Tonight will be no different. Whichever team can communicate on “D”, be more physical on “D” and play it for all 24 seconds of the shot clock and for all 48 minutes of the game, will win!
There are other keys I could talk about, like “Ball Movement” on offense for the Cavs, but you already know how important that is from my previous posts or podcasts. But the ones I have mentioned above to me are the most important tonight. If the Cavs can do most, if not all of the keys listed, then they will win an NBA Title and bring the city of Cleveland something they’ve been waiting for since 1964…A World Championship!
If that happens then it will give new meaning to the phrase “O.I.C.” – Only In Cleveland! Because “Only In Cleveland” will a team have done something no other NBA team has been able to do in the history of the game, come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals and win the NBA Championship!
MY PREDICTION – Get you champagne ready, prepare for a parade in downtown Cleveland, as I like MVP LeBron James and the Cavs to defeat Steph Curry and the Warriors 104-97 in Game 7 and complete the greatest comeback in NBA history!
Here’s what I came up with after looking into my crystal basketball for the 2015-16 NBA season.
EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF TEAMS:
1. Cleveland Cavaliers (56-26)
2. Chicago Bulls
3. Miami Heat
4. Washington Wizards
5. Toronto Raptors
6. Atlanta Hawks
7. Milwaukee Bucks
8. Boston Celtics
WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF TEAMS:
1. Golden State Warriors (58-24)
2. San Antonio Spurs
3. Oklahoma City Thunder
4. Houston Rockets
5. Los Angeles Clippers
6. Memphis Grizzlies
7. New Orleans Pelicans
8. Utah Jazz
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS:
Cleveland Cavaliers over Chicago Bulls
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS:
San Antonio Spurs over Golden State Warriors
Cleveland Cavaliers over San Antonio Spurs
LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers
NBA ROOKIE OF THE YEAR:
Jahlil Okafor – Philadelphia 76ers
NBA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
C.J. McCollum – Portland Trail Blazers
ALL NBA 1ST TEAM:
Steph Curry – Golden State Warriors
James Harden – Houston Rockets
Kevin Durant – Oklahoma City Thunder
LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers
Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans
ALL NBA 2ND TEAM: Chris Paul, Kawhi Leonard, Blake Griffin, DeMarcus Cousins and Marc Gasol
AGGRESSIVE, ATTACKING LEBRON – While he didn’t get the calls in Game #5 at Golden State, LeBron needs to go to the basket strong and frequently because it’s his best offensive weapon and it will put the onus on the officials to make calls if there is any contact. I expect “King James” to shoot no less than 14 free throws in this Game #6 if he attacks the rim.
POUND THE BOARDS – The Cavs lost the battle of the boards in Game #5 overall and at the offensive end, that can’t happen again in this series starting with tonight’s Game #6. Even if David Blatt decides to go small again, the Cavaliers as a unit must find a way to hold the Warriors to one shot, while at the other end create second and third chance opportunities on offense.
GET PHYSICAL WITH STEPH AND THE WARRIORS – Curry went for 37 in Game #5, if he does that again the Cavs season will end tonight and the Warriors will be NBA Champs. Overall the Cavs must make Golden State feel them from the opening tip to the final whistle. If that means take a few hard fouls and also grab, bump and knock Steph Curry around, then do it. Don’t let him get comfortable. I would also mix in a little zone when trying to play maybe Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov together, putting Lebron, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert on the perimeter and force the Warriors to go inside. Use this to try and catch Golden State by surprise and it may buy you a few minutes so you can play your “Bigs” together.
CONTROL THE TEMPO – This series has been all about the pace of the game. When Golden State has scored 100 or more points in the NBA Finals, they are (3-0). When the Cavs have held the Warriors under 100 points, Cleveland is (2-0). A slowdown, slugfest favors Cleveland. An up and down the court, track meet style game benefits the Warriors.
A SUPPORTING CAST – LeBron is doing it all and that’s still not enough. He needs a consistent second and third scorer if the Cavs are to force a Game #7 and have a chance to win the title. That means J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert must step their games up on the offensive end and provide at least 35 points between the two of them for the Cavs to have any chance. I expect LeBron to score between 35 and 45 points tonight, but without help from “The Others”, it won’t matter and the season will come to an end.
With the TV ratings at an all-time high, you know the NBA office wants a Game #7 that would feature Steph Curry and LeBron James. With that in mind and this game being played in Cleveland, I expect the Cavs to get more calls tonight giving them a chance to win Game #6, but it will come down to LeBron and “The Others” making shots and free throws. In a game in the 90’s, I expect the LeBron and the Cavs to find a way to win and force a Game #7 Friday at Golden State by defeating the Warriors tonight 95-91 at The Q!
Following last night’s NBA Finals Game #2 overtime win, 95-93 by the Cavs at Golden State, I joined Chris Plank and Arnie Spanier to talk LeBron, Delly and the series being tied 1-1 coming back to Cleveland for Game #3 on Tuesday night.
Click on this link below and then go half way into the Podcast to hear my conversation with the guys on Fox Sports Radio –
CAVS IN 3-D – Both of these teams rely on the three-pointer in a big way, Golden State more so than the Cavs, as they were second in the league in threes made with 883 (Cavs were fourth – 826). So David Blatt’s squad will have to defend the arc better than they have defended it all season long. They did a nice job against Kyle Korver and the Hawks, but are going to have to do an even better job against the “Splash Brothers” if they want to win this series and bring home the Larry O’Brien trophy for the first time in franchise history. One of the keys to that will be fighting over top of picks and not going under them. Iman shumpert, J.R. Smith, Delly and LeBron can’t get lazy and go under the many ball screens the Warriors will set or Steph Curry and Klay Thompson will make them pay. Communication on defense will be the key, along with quick switches and fast recovery and also don’t let Curry shoot from the left corner as he’s making 90 percent of his threes from there.
BANG THE BOARDS – The Cavaliers are undefeated this postseason when they win the rebounding battle and with the size advantage they have with their “BIGS” they need to control the boards in this series. The Cavs have to limit Golden State to “One and Done” at the offensive end so they don’t get many second chance opportunities where they automatically kick it out for a wide open three. Tristan Thompson, Timofey Mozgov and LeBron James will be the keys in making sure that doesn’t happen by wiping the glass clean. At the other end Thompson will need to continue to do what he does best and that’s pound the offensive glass to get the Cavs those second chance ops, to get as many extra possessions for “The King” as possible.
PUMP YOU UP – Yep that’s right it’s time for the Cavs to get “Physical” with a finesse team like Warriors. The Cavaliers need to flex their muscles early and often against a team, especially with their guards, that doesn’t like physical play. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are both coming off injuries where they suffered blows to the head, so they may be even a little more fearful of physical play. As a team, the Cavs can’t worry about the “Splash Brothers” previous injuries and must bump, push, grind on those two players, within the rules, as much as possible, along with being physical with everyone else on Steve Kerr’s team.
DON’T GET SUCKED IN – Golden State is going to try and turn this series into a track meet. They want to control the pace and the tempo. The Cavaliers may be tempted to try and run with the Warriors, but that’s not a good idea. With the Warriors ball movement, three point shots in transition and depth, the Cavs may be able to hang with them for a quarter here and there, but not over six or seven games. The Cavs have to pick their spots on when to run, but will benefit more if this becomes a physical, half court series.
KYRIE FOR HOW LONG? – We know Kyrie Irving is going to play in Game #1, but how effective will he be and will he be able to play in every game in this series? The shorter the series, the better the chances are for Cleveland and K.I. to win. If Kyrie can give the Cavs 30-15-6 in every game in these NBA Finals, the Cavaliers chances of winning their first ever NBA title increase dramatically. That would be 30 minutes a game, 15 points per game and 6 assists per game. Even if Irving can reach those numbers, J.R. Smith just like he was in the last series against Atlanta, will need to be the team’s second leading scorer at about 17 to 20 points per game, while Iman Shumpert needs to average about 13 to 15 a contest and play outstanding defense on top of that.
CHAMPIONSHIP EXPERIENCE vs DEPTH – There’s no question that Steve Kerr has a healthier and deeper team one through ten. So how does David Blatt counter that? Blatt has to hope that LeBron (and we’ll get to him later) has a huge series, but also the “Championship Pedigree” of other players on the Cavs roster will come into play, and maybe even come in and play! Besides LBJ, the Cavaliers have five other players who have won at least one NBA Championship. So the likes of James Jones, Shawn Marion, Kendrick Perkins, Mike Miller and Brendan Haywood will have to contribute with either words of wisdom from their past “Finals” experience, or actually come in at some point in this series, and contribute on the floor in whatever role is necessary. The Cavs must use this “Championship” experience to their advantage to help offset the Warriors overall team depth. By the way, Golden State has zero NBA Finals experience. Not a single player on their team has ever played in an NBA Finals game. Steve Kerr their coach has, but he won’t be suiting up for a single game.
TO’S – I’m not talking about time outs here. David Blatt has already learned his lesson about those. I’m talking about turnovers. When the Warriors don’t play well, they are very loose with the ball and tend to throw it away in bunches. When that happens, the Cavaliers need to capitalize on it and score points off of those Golden State turnovers. On the flipside, LeBron James especially, since he handles the ball more than any player on either team, needs to value the ball and not get caught in the air trying to make passes. He’s had a tendency to do that this postseason and has coughed it up quite a bit. The Warriors defense feasts on turnovers like that and they will make you pay and turn them into easy points.
SHOT TIME – This sounds so simple and so obvious, but it may end up being the most important key in this series – MAKE SHOTS! LeBron has always said, “The NBA is a shot making league” and he’s right. Throughout every game you’re going to get open looks at the basket, be it from distance, midrange or in the paint, and when you get those wide open looks, can you knock them down? If you do, your team will win. If you don’t, your team will lose. Simple, but so true, and especially in games of this magnitude.
LeDOMINATE – LeBron James was three assists shy of averaging a triple/double in the Eastern Conference Finals against Atlanta. He almost went 30p-10r-10a against the second best team in the NBA’s regular season. With everything the Cavs have gone through, from losing Kevin Love to injury in the first round of the playoffs, J.R. Smith being suspended for the first two games of the Bulls series, Kyrie Irving trying to play through major foot and knee injuries, Iman Shumpert gutting it out through a groin strain, “The King” has had to take his game to another level, and he has. Question is, can he elevate it even higher? Right now a lot of people, including James himself, feel he’s playing the most complete basketball of his career when you combine on court production, leadership, basketball IQ and preparation. He’ll need to continue to do that and maybe then some to help the wounded Cavaliers to their first ever NBA Title. Remember this, in his only game against Golden State this year LBJ put up the following stat line: 42p-11r-5a in the Cavs 110-99 home win. Golden State had “NO” answer for him! More of the same, or close to it, and Cleveland will be celebrating its first “World Championship” in 51 years.
I don’t expect the Cavaliers to accomplish every one of my keys in every game in this series. I do however expect them to control most of them and that’s why I like the Cavaliers in 6 games. I believe they will split the first two games at Golden State and then hold serve at The Q to win it on their home floor. I can see why a lot of people would pick Golden State: best record, home court and the “Splash Brothers”, but maybe I’m still caught up in what the Ohio State Buckeyes were able to overcome to win a National Championship when everybody doubted them and feel the Cavs can do the same thing because they have LeBron James and he is playing the best all-around basketball he’s ever played. If he stays healthy in this series, I like “The King” and the Cavaliers to be crowned NBA Champions for the first time in franchise history.
MVP – Kevin Durant Runner Up – LeBron James
Rookie of the Year – Michael Carter-Williams Runner Up – Victor Oladipo
Defensive Player of the Year – Roy Hibbert Runner Up – Joakim Noah
6th Man of the Year – Jamal Crawford Runner Up – Taj Gibson
Most Improved Player – Anthony Davis Runner Up – Goran Dragic
Coach of the Year – Greg Popovich Runner Up – Jeff Hornacek
Most Surprising Team – Toronto Raptors Runner Up – Phoenix Suns
Most Disappointing Team – N.Y. Knicks Runner Up – Cleveland Cavaliers
Best Free Agent Move – Al Jefferson Runner Up – Paul Milsap
Worst Free Agent Move – Andrew Bynum Runner Up – Josh Smith
All NBA 1st Team – Kevin Durant, LeBron James, James Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge, Steph Curry
All NBA 2nd Team – Kevin Love, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Al Jefferson/Joakim Noah(Tie), Paul George
All NBA Rookie 1st Team – Michael Carter-Williams, Victor Oladipo, Trey Burke, Ben McLemore, Gorgui Dieng
NBA Rookie Not Squad – Anthony Bennett, OttoPorter , Alex Len, Shabazz Muhammed, Cody Zeller
NBA DRAFT IS THURSDAY, JUNE 26, 2014