OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Cleveland Cavaliers have faced adversity throughout the 2015 NBA Playoffs. However, the injury to Kyrie Irving leaves LeBron James as the only remaining original starter from the beginning of the season.
The fact that the Cleveland Cavaliers made mid-season trades to bring in shooting guard J.R. Smith, wing player Iman Shumpert and center Timofey Mozgov has helped turn the team around immensely. But with Anderson Varajeo out for season, Kevin Love lost to a post-season injury that required surgery and left him out for the rest of the playoffs, and now Kyrie Irving lost for the rest of the playoffs, the Cavaliers depth has been lost with them.
The Golden State Warriors is a very good team with incredible depth on the bench. The Cavaliers have very little depth on the bench and now no back-up point guard. The bench players they do have are either at the end of their careers or a rookie. Matthew Dellevadova has been thrust into the starting role of point guard. Tristan Thompson has been forced into starting at power forward. Both players began the season coming off the bench.
We saw this same group of players win Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals vs. the Atlanta Hawks on the road, so why can't they do the same against Golden State? Stranger things have happened — plus this is a Cavaliers team led by two-time champion LeBron James, considered by many as the best player on the planet at this moment.
Reigning M.V.P. Stephen Curry has stepped forward this season and now he has become the difference-maker, the unstoppable force that LeBron has always been. The tables have turned in a way that no one thought was possible, but contrary to LeBron's take on the Finals, he has become the underdog.
What can the Cavaliers do to win against the healthy, dynamic Golden State Warriors?
The Cavaliers as the underdog, now have to play every minute as if it were their last. They have to play the kind of stifling defense that led them to a four-game sweep of the 6o win Atlanta Hawks. Matthew Dellevadova, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert have to become the impressive force that they have shown they can be.
Game 2 of the NBA Finals is Sunday, June 7th in Oakland, California.
Will the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have become one of the tightest squads emotionally, be able to put the noise behind them and come out and shock the Warriors. Only time will tell. But the fact that LeBron was down 0-1 in both of his championships has to have Cavaliers fans at least optimistic that he can do it again.
If in fact the Cleveland Cavaliers win a championship this year, it will be one of the most monumental achievements by a team with so many starters injured and out. It will be the kind of a championship that will make LeBron one of the greatest of all-time.