Analyst: James Can Win One Game, Maybe Two

It's going to take "an injury or two" for the Cavs to have a legitimate chance of beating the Warriors

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
May 29, 2018 - 9:43 am

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After surviving a seven-game series against Houston, the Golden State Warriors are back in the NBA Finals for the fourth straight season. And, for the fourth straight season, they will face LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

But this series, unfortunately, could be short on drama.

“They’re the Warriors, so I can’t pick against them,” CBS Sports NBA insider Reid Forgrave said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I think LeBron James is only part human, as he’s proven this entire playoffs. I think LeBron James by himself can win a game, maybe even two, in this series. I feel almost subversive saying, ‘Hey, the Cavs can win two games.’ Everyone else is going (to pick) sweep (or) maybe, maybe they can push them to five. The Warriors, they’re just too talented, and I think that’s what we saw (in Game 7). That’s what Steve Kerr talked about: talent ultimately won out.”

The Warriors trailed the Rockets at halftime in Games 6 and 7 but convincingly won both games. Golden State outscored Houston 64-25 in the second half of Game 6 and 58-41 in the second half of Game 7. The third quarter proved to be the difference in each game, with Golden State owning that frame 33-16 in Game 6 and 33-15 in Game 7.

It was ugly.

The Rockets also picked a bad time to go ice-cold from three. They shot an abysmal 7-of-44 (15.9 percent) from distance in Game 7, including 0-of-14 in the third quarter.

Did the Rockets miss Chris Paul? 

Yes. Yes, they did.

“I wonder if talent would have won out if Chris Paul had been on the floor,” Forgrave said. “I think this could have been an entirely different series in these last two games. But the talent gap between the Warriors and the Cavs is so much bigger than the Warriors and the Rockets. Look, LeBron is amazing. But especially if Kevin Love is out, are you kidding me? This is the worst supporting cast he’s had since maybe early in the Cavs years. I think Vegas has them as 7-to-1 underdogs, and that feels about right.”

Amy Lawrence gives the Cavs a slightly better chance. She thinks the Warriors look more vulnerable than they have in years.

Forgrave’s take? Looks can be deceiving.

“(They looked) more vulnerable because they were playing a team that was constructed to beat them – and could have beat them,” he said. “But now they’re going back to a team in the Cavs that, frankly, is not constructed to beat them – and when they did beat them, had Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving and Draymond Green kicking a guy in the you-know-what to throw off the rhythm of that series. Can the Cavs win? Yeah, I guess they can, but to me, it’s going to take an injury or two on the Warriors to give the Cavs a chance.”

Games 1 and 2 of the Finals are Thursday and Sunday, respectively, in Oakland. Tip-off for each game is slated for 9 p.m. ET.