Jun 4, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) shoots against Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) and forward Kevin Durant (35) in game two of the 2017 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been no match for the fast-paced Golden State Warriors through the first two games of the NBA Finals but insist they have no desire to slow things down when the series resumes on Wednesday.
The top-seeded Warriors have used their free-firing, run-and-gun style to grab a 2-0 lead in the NBA’s best-of-seven championship but the Cavaliers insist they would not benefit from slowing down the tempo.
“That’s not our game. We don’t play slowdown basketball,” Cavaliers forward LeBron James told reporters on Tuesday in Cleveland, site of the next two games.
“We play at our pace. We play our game. We got to this point playing our way. We have won a lot of games playing the way we play, so we’re not going to change.”
The defending NBA champion Cavaliers also play at a fast pace but that approach has resulted in a pair of lopsided losses that have the Warriors two wins from the first perfect 16-0 postseason in NBA history.
James, the most prolific scorer in NBA playoff history, said he was content with the more physical effort his team showed in the second game of the series and that the Cavaliers’ gameplan, if executed for 48 minutes, gives them a chance to win.
“We just want to continue to play how we did in Game 2,” said James, who led his Cavaliers to a title last year despite trailing Golden State by a 3-1 margin in the Finals.
“I thought we were much more physical, we had bodies on bodies and we have to do that against those guys, because if we let them run free, then they are even that more dangerous.”
Led by two-times reigning MVP Stephen Curry and four-times scoring champion Kevin Durant, the Warriors have an embarrassment of riches and find ways to score regardless of the pace of any particular game.
But rather than fretting about the talent on the other end of the floor, Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue said his team simply need to focus on not turning the ball over or letting the Warriors get out in transition.
“We’re not going to change our game because of who we’re playing,” said Lue. “And I’m confident that we can play that way, and we did it last year.
“A lot of people said we couldn’t. But that’s our game. That’s who we are. And we’re not going to change just because we’re playing Golden State.” — By Frank Pingue
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)