Oakland (AFP) — Hindi pa natatalo si LeBron James sa first two games ng playoff series at walang paki ang Cleveland Cavaliers superstar na mag-start kontra Golden State Warriors sa 70th NBA Finals 2015-16 maipagpatuloy lang ang tradisyon.
May nine consecutive game-two wins si James makaraang mabigo ang kanyang teams sa opener ng playoff series. Itataya ng Cavaliers ang streak sa Lunes (Manila time) makaraang matalo sa defeding champion Warriors 104-89 noong Huwebes.
“I’m not discouraged at all,” bulalas ni James noong Biyernes pagkalipas mag- analyze sa video ng kanilang defeat. “We had some opportunities. We played some good basketball for 36 minutes.
“We definitely missed some really easy looks, some looks we’re accustomed to making, that we’ve made all year. We were able to get where we wanted to go. We’ve just got to knock them home.”
Walang binigay na dahilan si James sa tagumpay ng mga pagbalikwas mula sa mga pagkataob sa game one.
“I’ve been part of some resilient teams,” hirit ni James. “My team has always been able to recalibrate, look at the mistakes in game one and come up with a better plan in game two.”
Pero positibo rin ang GSW na matutuldukan na ang James’ streak sa at sikwatin ang 2-0 edge sa best-of-seven showdown bago dumayo ang serye sa Cleveland para sa games sa Miyerkules at sa parating na Biyernes.
“Sunday is a huge game,” mensahe naman ni Warriors coach Steve Kerr. “We would like to go take care of business and get out on the road with a 2-0 lead but we’ve got to play well.”
Anim na beses nang pinugutan ng Golden State ang Cleveland, tatlo sa nakalipas na taong NBA Finals at dalawa pa sa regular season bago ang 104-89 pagbalasa ng una sa huli sa nagdaang linggo.
“It’s not like we have any control over them,” giit ni Golden State’s Draymond Green. “They are used to winning. They are going to battle.
They are going to compete and they are super talented. You can’t come out saying, ‘We beat them six in a row. We’re good.’ Absolutely not. As soon as you do that and let your guard down, it’s a wrap.”
Sa opener, nasawata ng Cavaliers sina 3-point sharpshooters Stephen Curry at Klay Thompson, na nakapag-combined lang ng 20 points sa 8-of-27 shooting, at outrebounded ang Golden State 47-41. Pero bugbog sarado ang kanilang bench sa scoring, 45-10.
“To win the game the way we did with those guys struggling says a lot about this team,” dugtong ni Green, na humalakhak kung paano maunawaan ang motto ng team ni Kerr na – Strength in Numbers.
“I thought it was corny when he first said it,” dagdap pa ni Green. “But then you get to playing and you see what he means.
It all comes together and it’s like, wow, that makes a lot of sense. It’s definitely something we try to live by. It’s the depth. It’s the camaraderie. It’s all of us as one. It’s very fitting for this team.”
Kinamao ni reserve Shaun Livingston ang Warriors sa tinagpas na 20 points at nangakong gayung mental attitude pa rin ang ibabanda anuman ang mga ilaro ng mga starters.
“We have to come out with the same mindset. Our mindset has to be to be productive when we’re out there,”namutawi kay Livingston. “We have to be aggressive. We’re not coming in to just give guys rest. We are coming in to be productive and make things happen.”