Dribbles: No quit in Cavs, and that remains greatest hope

BY foxsports • June 15, 2015

2. I'm not going to make any grand predictions of what might happen next. I just know LeBron James and his buddies are playing their hearts out. I have no reason to believe that will end. They aren't supposed to play the mighty Warriors tough at home, but they have in all three games. They even won one in Oakland. Do I think they can do it again? Yes, absolutely. But let them get Game 6 first.

3. LeBron on how he's feeling about the Cavs' chances: "I feel confident because I'm the best player in the world."

4. Quick analysis of that comment: LeBron will get no argument from me.

5. The Warriors led just 51-50 at halftime. It was 73-67 at end of third quarter. But the Cavs battled back, and despite the Warriors' flashy passes, monster dunks, and splashing perimeter shots, the Cavs were in this until the final 2:00. I don't know what more you can ask from an undermanned team on the road.

6. Warriors guard Steph Curry got loose and hit some freakish shots at the end. That's OK. That's what Curry does. He gives hope to every kid who's told they couldn't do or be something. He's not big, he's not overly strong, and he's not even remarkably quick (by NBA standards). He is just a fundamentally sound nightmare for opponents. Hard work can take you places, and Curry is proof.

7. Still, for 90 percent of this series, Curry has had to work like crazy just to get a decent look at the basket. The media tries to make it "Curry vs. Matthew Dellavedova." They paint pictures of Delly shutting down Curry, and then how the Warriors are laughing off that philosophy. It's all just annoying. Truth is, the Cavs are sinking or swimming as a team. The Warriors absolutely hate playing against this defense, and it shows. There is no quit in Cleveland -- Delly, LeBron, Tristan Thompson, whoever.

8. And just imagine if the Cavs could throw Dellavedova AND Irving at Curry. Actually, forget about that. You're not supposed to use injuries as an excuse. That may be why I haven't mentioned Kevin Love yet. And I know Cleveland is tired of "what if" scenarios. But if you're the Cavs and their fans, you really have to step back and examine the big picture.

9. For the four seasons prior to this, the Cavs were basically the laughingstock of the league. James left for Miami and the Cavs pinned their hopes on the lottery year after thankless year. It was an average-at-best time to be a pro basketball fan in Northeast Ohio. You know what happened next, with LeBron returning, the trade for Love, etc. Now the Cavs are here, competing for a championship. I think any Cavs fans would take that.

10. Yes, the Cavs are down to their final chance. They cannot lose again. It will be tough for the city to digest if they do. The idea that Irving and Love (and Anderson Varejao) are out won't really help that much, either. Believe me, I know. I get it.

11. But I am here to tell you to forget all that noise. Just appreciate this team for what it is. Look at how LeBron is single-handedly attempting to perform a basketball miracle for his hometown team. Look at his 40 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists in Game 5 -- and how he is teaching his undermanned teammates to fight and scratch and claw until the end. Look at the invaluable experience being given to younger players such as Dellavedova, Thompson, Iman Shumpert and Timofey Mozgov.

12. Now imagine this entire team returning next season -- with a healthy Irving, Love and Varejao. Doesn't sound too shabby, huh?

13. And I know I've written it time and again, but there is not a better coach for this bunch than David Blatt. Along with James, Blatt has put Cavs Lite in position to win. This might also be the best defensive team in franchise history, and Blatt and his staff deserve tons of credit for that alone.

14. It was good to see J.R. Smith return for at least a half, finishing with 14 points and seven rebounds. He'll need another night like this (and then some) Tuesday in Cleveland. Meanwhile, Thompson finished with 19 points and 10 boards. Still, the Cavs were out-rebounded by a 43-37 count. That's never good news.

15. Also, Mozgov didn't play much (nine minutes) took just one shot and failed to score. All this came one game after he went for 28. But the Warriors' small lineup forced the Cavs to play a different style. Blatt did what he had to do, and it almost worked.

16. Blatt on all of the above: "Listen, when you're coaching a game, you've got to make decisions. I felt that the best chance for us to stay in the game and to have a chance to win was to play it the way that we played it."

17. Again, no argument there.

18. I know I sound like the voice of doom, and perhaps you're saying, "Well, guess Amico thinks this thing is over." Nope. Far from it. I predicted the Cavs to win in seven games two weeks ago, and I feel confident because LeBron is the best player in the world.

19. In other words, if the Cavs can win Tuesday and set up a Game 7, well, I am still a firm believer all is possible. Do the Cavs look spent? Do they look beaten and battered? Do they role players suddenly look overwhelmed? For the most part, I'd answer yes to each.


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