Gameday: With 2-0 lead, Warriors must avoid early onslaught from Cavs

Gameday: With 2-0 lead, Warriors must avoid early onslaught from Cavs

CLEVELAND -- The Warriors this postseason seem to have solved their most consistent problem they faced last postseason.

After going 0-4 in Game 3s last postseason, the Warriors will try to make it a clean 4-0 this postseason when they take the floor Wednesday night against the Cavaliers for Game 3 of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena.

Though the Warriors won all three Game 3s thus far, the win margin of nine is the smallest of any game. They’ve also trailed in all three -- by 17 at Portland, by nine at Utah and by six in San Antonio -- and that’s a situation they desperately want to avoid in Cleveland.


Warriors by 3.5


Kevin Durant vs LeBron James: It’s the first to four wins and Durant has won the first two rounds. He’s making James work so hard on defense that the Cavs are swapping in other defenders; there is speculation Iman Shumpert will get more time against Durant. Meanwhile, Durant is doing a nice job of protecting the paint while also defending James. James needs a dominating performance. He’s capable and without it the Cavs are in deep trouble.

[RELATED: Guarding Durant taking a toll on LeBron? 'I'm averaging a triple-double']


Warriors: No injuries listed.

Cavaliers: C Edy Tavares (R hand fracture) is listed as out.


Warriors: Posted a 67-15 record in the regular season to earn the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs. Swept Portland in four games in the first round, swept Utah in four in the Western Conference semifinals and swept San Antonio in four in the conference finals.

Cavs: Were 51-31 in the regular season to earn the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Swept Indiana in four games in the first round, swept Toronto in four in the conference semifinals, defeated Boston in five games in the conference finals.


Game 1: Warriors 113, Cavaliers 91. Game 2: Warriors 132, Cavaliers 113.

The teams split two games in the regular season, the Cavs with a 109-108 victory on Christmas Day in Cleveland, the Warriors a 126-91 win on Jan. 16 in Oakland. The Warriors are 12-8 against the Cavs over the past three seasons, including 8-6 in the postseason.


Steph vs. Kyrie: Curry has been superior to Irving, which one reason the Warriors are up 2-0. With so much expected of James, it’s imperative of Irving to find his “A” game. Klay Thompson’s defense has taken that away. Expect the Cavs to do more off-the-ball stuff to create ways to get Irving away from Thompson.

The role players: As a rule, non-stars tend to perform better at home. The Cavs certainly need to get more out of the likes of Kyle Korver, Deron Williams, Channing Frye and Shumpert. That also applies to starters Tristan Thompson and JR Smith. This is where we find out if the Warriors are simply too good on defense.

The early rush: The Warriors firmly believe one of the keys for them is avoiding early onslaughts by the Cavs, who expect to come out aggressively. If they can keep the crowd out of it and not let the Cavs build momentum, they’re much more confident about their chances.

How Iguodala helped Looney get career on track, 'I finally listened to him...'


How Iguodala helped Looney get career on track, 'I finally listened to him...'

Back in late October, the Warriors declined their $2.3 million team option on Kevon Looney for the 2018-19 season.

How did that make him feel?

"It was kind of a let down," Looney told Tim Kawakami and Marcus Thompson on the Warriors Plus/Minus Podcast. "I knew it was up in the air. It was going back and forth, back and forth. When they didn't pick it up -- they told me why, I understood, I've been here for three years, I've seen a lot of players come and go; I know basketball is a business -- I was kind of let down.

"But I knew I was going to try and make the most of it. Now I'm playing for my contract for next year. I just wanted to go prove myself. I knew this summer there was a lot of doubts about what I could do. People were doubting if I would even be in the NBA still ... I knew what I was capable of."

Looney underwent surgery on his right hip in August 2015, and appeared in just five games during his rookie season.

He then had surgery on his left hip in April 2016, and appeared in 53 games (8.4 minutes per night) during the 2016-17 season.

This year, he's averaging career highs in points (3.5), rebounds (2.9), blocks (0.7) and minutes (12.0).

"This summer, I decided I just wanted to try go back to the way I played in college. It's been working for me," Looney explained. "I lost about 30 pounds this offseason and it's really made me a lot faster and a lot quicker. And I've been staying healthy."

How did he drop all that weight?

"A lot of broccoli and turkey and plain food. Food that wasn't that good but it's something that I had to get used to," Looney said. "Taco Bell, fried chicken, I was eating that on the regular ... coming off of injury, you can't eat like that. It's a different level of intensity in the NBA.

"I had to change my diet. Andre (Iguodala) was in my ear for two years about it. I finally listened to him and it paid off."

Looney will become an unrestricted free agent in July.

Although the Warriors declined the option, the 22-year old could return to Golden State -- but the max amount the Warriors can offer him is $2.3 million.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Report: During players-only meeting, Spurs implore Kawhi to return to lineup


Report: During players-only meeting, Spurs implore Kawhi to return to lineup

The Kawhi Leonard saga continues to take twists and turns.

After last Saturday night's win over Minnesota, the Spurs had a players-only meeting and implored Kawhi Leonard to return to game action, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

It didn't seem to work.

From Woj:

Leonard, 26, was resolute in response, insisting that he had good reason for sitting out all but nine games with a right quad injury this season, league sources said.

Leonard has targeted games in the recent week, only to decide that he wasn't feeling confident in the injury to return, league sources said.

After San Antonio's shootaround on Wednesday, Manu Ginobili was asked about Kawhi.

"He is not coming back," Ginobili told reporters. "For me, he's not coming back because it's not helping. We fell for it a week ago again. I guess you guys made us fall for it.

"But we have to think that he's not coming back, that we are who we are, and that we got to fight without him. That shouldn't be changing, at least until he is ready for the jump ball."

Entering Thursday, the Spurs (42-30) are in 5th place in the Western Conference, three games clear of the 9th-place Nuggets. 

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller