Nick Wright unveils what LeBron’s Cavs must do for Cleveland to compete with the Warriors in the Finals

Video Details

Looking ahead to Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals, Nick Wright unveils to Cris Carter and Jenna Wolfe what LeBron's Cavaliers must do for Cleveland to compete with Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and the rest of the Golden State Warriors. Who wins Game 1?

- How can the Cavs be competitive? Because in 2016, they won the series. They lost the first two games by a combined 48 points in Golden State. In 2017, they lost in five. They lost the first two games by a combined 41 points in Golden State. So whether they win the series, lose the series, they've never done well. The last time they did well in a game 1 against the Warriors was an overtime loss the first time these two teams played, the game Kyrie Irving got hurt.

So what has to happen? LeBron absolutely, unequivocally, cannot have a feel out game. We saw him feel out games in the game ones in each of the three playoff series.

ANALYST: Feel out meaning feel what the defense is giving you? Look at their settings?

- Try to spend more time getting other guys involved than attacking the basket. Fall-- kind of reserve. If the game is starting to get away, eh, I'm going to leave something in the tank. They'll get them game two. Here's why I know he can't have a feel out game.

Zach Lowe wrote a great article of this week talking about how LeBron's playoff series playoff run up to this point, giving you 34 9 and 9 on 54% shooting might be the greatest run up to an NBA Finals we've ever seen, from any player in league history. And that's been barely enough against far inferior teams. So think about that, the greatest individual run has barely been enough against teams that are nowhere near as good as Golden State.

So the first baseline minimum is LeBron's got to have at least a 30 point triple double type of performance, maybe a high 30 point performance. If you're not going to get the triple double, a 40 point performance. That's how they stay competitive. And then after that, you start asking can the Cavs get some stops? Do they have any one to match up on Kevin Durant?

Are they going to be asking LeBron to do that offensively, and guard Kevin Durant for 30 minutes?


- You think they are?

- Well, you have to. I don't know about 30 minutes, but the way the lineups are set, they're going to play Tristan Thompson, and if Kevin Love is healthy, that that allows Kevin Love to not be exposed on the defensive end as far as guarding Looney or Draymond. Neither one of those players-- Draymond barely getting in double figures, not shooting the ball, not playing with a lot of confidence. And LeBron's got to guard KD.

Now to me, that adds to the legacy of who he is, regardless of how the Finals is played out. How does LeBron do head to head versus KD?

ANALYST: Is Kevin the only second option? Do you see any scenario by which, I don't know, JR, who's been invisible. CC, two years ago he came out and played lights out in the Finals. Is there any other second option that LeBron has besides Kevin Love?

- I got blind faith for LeBron. I can't appropriate that faith to any of the other Cavs. I mean, Kevin Love. King Kevin Love, we dropped our standards so much on Kevin Love, Kevin Love can he play? Can he get 15 and 10? He was a 25 and 12 guy. Now we're asking for 15 and 10. I haven't seen a two guard that has the type of talent of JR, or have the resume that's gone up complete about face and not be able to find the basketball.

JR, in Boston, averaged two points as a shooter?


- Two points?

NICK WRIGHT: He made six shots in the four games.

- I mean, Jenna, he's averaging one more point than me and you. I mean, as a shooting guard, when LeBron has needed the most help, everyone knows he needs help. And it's unhealthy. It's not as if he's struggling with some type of injury.

So if Golden State-- if any of the top players, maybe not Klay, but if Steph or KD are on the pacers, I don't believe the Cavs are here. So when you talk about this historic run that LeBron has been on, and it barely got him through. The team he's facing in Golden State is one the all time great teams.