Why The Cavs Should Aggressively Pursue A Trade For DeMarcus Cousins This Coming Offseason

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New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins would make for quite the piece in a potential offseason trade for the Cavs this summer. 

Photo: Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images


Gavriel M. Wilkins | 06.08.17

Last July, the Golden State Warriors made the biggest splash in free agency, when Kevin Durant announced that he would sign with the organization to compete for an NBA championship.

The move took place just weeks after the team that finished with the best regular-season record in league history, fell short against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 7 of last year’s NBA Finals.

Now, they sit only one win away from recapturing their place atop the league.

While the Cavaliers find themselves searching for greener pastures, and needing to make a franchise-altering move sooner rather than later, in the hopes of competing with their archrivals.

A big man who currently plays out in the Western Conference, could potentially be the guy to help them do just that.

For over the last few years, DeMarcus Cousins has shown why he is considered by many as the best center in the league on a nightly basis.

This past season, the 26-year-old center out of Kentucky averaged a career-high 27 points and 11 rebounds in 72 games for the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans, where he was traded during the All-Star break in exchange for Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway, and a first- and second-round pick in this year’s NBA Draft.

Yet, he has played on a team throughout the majority of his career that has lacked a winning culture.

And although many have been quick to label him as a head case during his days in Sacramento, no one has ever questioned his commitment and desire to win.

“He’s incredible. He can score the ball.” said Warriors forward Draymond Green following a game against Cousins in Sacramento this past January. “I think a lot of times…people don’t give him that credit.”

“He is the best big man in the game, hands down.”

At 6-foot-11 and 270 pounds, Cousins is arguably one of the game’s most dominant forces below the free-throw line since Shaquille O’Neal. His footwork and skills to operate down low on the block make him a matchup nightmare for opponents and coaching staffs who try to contain the three-time All-Star.

However, there is more.

Cousins also possesses a game in which he can take guys off the dribble, and lead the break en route to dropping dimes that most men his size just should not be able to make.

On top of that, he has added a reliable 3-point shot to his arsenal — making him arguably the most versatile big man to play in the game today.

So, why would you not think about the possibilities of making a potential trade for Cousins if you’re Cleveland?

Especially when a player such as Kevin Love, has shown that he does not match up well against a team that possesses positional mobility in the manner that the Warriors do, and continues to get picked apart within the pick-and-roll.

Cousins can at least offer you all of his offensive intangibles and more, with the ability to defend the opposition’s power forward — serving as a better option when it comes to protecting the rim.

Plus, he is hungry.

The seventh-year veteran has never had the opportunity to play in the playoffs, and for a guy whose contract is up at the end of next season, why not seek the opportunity to get him while you can in a trade, in the effort to clear up cap space and help Kyrie Irving, James, and the Cavs recapture the Larry O’Brien Trophy next time around?

Should you contend as expected, you can easily have a great chance of re-signing him in the summer of 2018.

Cousins is a once-in-a-generational talent, with a take-no-prisoners mentality.

He is even a piece that a player such as LeBron James might love to have as his teammate, as he appears to think highly of the man known around the league as Big Cuz, too.

They could desperately use him in The Land right about now.

 

 

 

 

 

Q&A With Matt Medley of NEO Sports Insiders

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Photo courtesy of NEO Sports Insiders


Gavriel M. Wilkins | 06.08.17

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Matt Medley of NEO Sports Insiders.

Medley is a man of many trades, as he serves as the lead writer and co-editor for the blog that covers all matters surrounding the high school and professional sports scene in northeast Ohio, and is also a contributing writer for AmicoHoops.

However, his work does not stop there.

The 25-year-old Strongsville, Ohio, native has called high school football games as a play-by-play and color commentary announcer in the past, while also working as an on-air radio sports personality.

Prior to Game 3 of the NBA Finals, Medley talked with Won For All in our most recent Q&A segment, where he discussed how he has uncovered his niche, the impact in which social media has had on his career, and much more.


Gavriel Wilkins: Tell me about yourself, and what it is that you are into when you are not in the midst of writing and uncovering all the latest news surrounding Cleveland sports?

Matt Medley: I’m 25 years old from Strongsville,  Ohio. I’ve always liked sports, especially basketball and baseball. I’ve been a writer since an early age, and when I was deciding to pursue a career, I decided to combine two of my favorite things: sports and writing. Most of my waking moments are occupied by those two things now, but when I get some free time I like to listen to music, especially hip hop.

Wilkins: On top of being a writer/editor at NEO Sports Insiders, you are also an on-air personality and play-by-play announcer according to your official bio on the site.

How did you manage to acquire your niche within those different capacities, and how has it helped you to get where you are today?

Medley: When I went to the Ohio Media School in 2014-15, we were given the opportunity to do high school football play-by-play and color commentary.

It hasn’t been the direction my career has taken so far, but I loved getting the experience and would not rule it out down the road. As far as finding my niche goes, the biggest thing I can say is that I don’t shoot an opportunity down without at least giving it a chance or some consideration.

One of the most fun experiences I had was doing public address announcing work for the Urusline College women’s basketball team during the 2015-16 season. They ended up winning their conference and reached the NCAA Division II Tournament.

I only started doing it at first because I needed intern hours for school, but it turned out to be really fun and it helped me prepare for one of my future jobs, writing about women’s and girls basketball.

Wilkins: I have noticed throughout following the Cavs closely over the last year, just how active you are through Twitter.

You post an array of content surrounding the atmosphere at The Q, and share quite a few videos and interesting sound bytes after games. How has social media helped play a part in your overall work as a blogger as of recent times?

Medley: As much as the get-off-my-lawn guys will moan and groan about how millennials are the cause of all the world’s problems, social media is probably the biggest tool young journalists can use to share their content.

Especially if you are in a situation like one of my main jobs, which involves writing and editing stories for an independent grassroots website. When you’re trying to build up from scratch, it is a long haul, but there’s a bit of a domino effect that happens once you get the ball rolling. I’m not an expert, but I try to find and post things my audience would find intriguing, and when possible, include videos to share the scene.

The technology we have is pretty awesome and maybe it’s a generational thing, but some traditional journalists don’t utilize it to maximize their reach or engage new audiences.

For me personally, social media has opened new opportunities like guest appearances to promote my work on radio shows, landing side jobs, and generally letting people keep up with my work fairly easily. There’s probably not a perfect way to use it, but it’s done far more good than harm in my career so far.

Wilkins: While I came to know you for your work and social media post surrounding the Cavs, you also cover high school sports in northeast Ohio — such as baseball, football, among a host of others. You have also written some articles centered around the Browns and Indians as well.

How do you manage to keep up with all things across the state, when the Cavs have been the hottest topic in town ever since LeBron’s return three years ago?

Medley: This part is still an ongoing question I have with myself all the time. Trying to land whatever jobs you can find in the industry and trying to run an independent website, high school sports has been a natural way to earn extra money and add more content to the website.

When I first took a freelance job at The Morning Journal covering high school sports, it wasn’t exactly the most appealing job, but by learning more about the teams and communities involved,  it has really grown on me and become something I love to do.

Highlighting local student athletes/teams and sharing their stories is a unique opportunity to paint the picture in a way that their family, friends and neighbors can read about and imagine. High school sports always feel much more on a personal level to me than covering pro sports, because the names, the faces, the students and coaches are just regular everyday people, and are doing it purely for the love of the game.

If you ever get the chance,  I highly suggest getting a first-hand look at high school sports because it gives you an in-depth look at the process it takes for pros to get to where they are now. You see some of the stories and work behind the scenes, that might not be mentioned in their Wikipedia page.

Wilkins: What would you say are your favorite pieces/topics to write on?

Medley: My favorite topics to write about are basketball and baseball. As I alluded to, I really like focusing on local high school sports, but as someone who’s always followed the Cavs and Indians, I also enjoy writing about them. Especially now that they’re both good.

Wilkins: Now, I would like to get your thoughts on all matters centered around the Cavs. What is your given assessment on the team’s play thus far in the NBA Finals this year?

Medley: My assessment of the Cavs through two games, is that they look overmatched and their bench and supporting cast are underproducing. I know that LeBron is the best player on the floor on any given night,  but it doesn’t look like enough right now and I don’t see the Cavs coming back in this series.

I thought the same thing at this point last year, but Golden State’s addition of Durant seems to make it an even bigger uphill battle. Anything is possible, but looking at it as objectively as I can, I think the Cavs will need to make some fairly significant moves to counter next year. If they don’t add an All-Star-caliber scorer, they’re going to need to improve their bench drastically.

Wilkins: So, after falling down 2-0 against the Warriors yet again, do you still believe that the Cavs have a chance to prevail in the championship round for the second straight year?

Medley: The Cavs have a chance, but it’s going to take everything clicking on all cylinders and will have to be basically a complete reversal of how the first two games went.

I don’t see Durant slowing down, and I expect one or two of his other three All-Stars to have a big game, so the Cavs really need a lot of things to go their way. Cleveland’s defense has not given me reason to believe they can stop Golden State’s offense yet in this series. I hope I’m wrong, but it’s not looking good.

Wilkins: What would back-to-back championships mean to the city of Cleveland or state of Ohio at large, should LeBron James help the Cavs become the first team to successfully defend its title since the 2012-13 Miami Heat?

Medley: If LeBron leads this comeback again for a second straight year, it would obviously be another amazing accomplishment.

Considering how big of an addition the Warriors made with KD, if LeBron still answers that with another trophy, he will have strengthened his case to pass the ghost of Michael Jordan.

It will take a full team effort to pull it off, but 20 years from now, it would remembered for LeBron leading the way yet again.

For more updates, news, and information surrounding the Cavaliers, follow our official Twitter page @WonForAll

Video: Won For All’s 3 Keys For The Cavs In Game 3 Of The NBA Finals

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Cavs forward Kevin Love looks to shoot from long range during team practice and media availability at the NBA Finals on Tuesday afternoon in Cleveland.

Photo: David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images


Gavriel M. Wilkins | 04.27.17

In the following video, Won For All writer and editor Gavriel Wilkins, shares his three keys for the Cavs prior to Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday evening.

Cavs Need Kyrie Irving To Put Together His Best Performance On The Postseason As The NBA Finals Shift To Cleveland

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Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving addresses the media shortly following practice at the NBA Finals in Cleveland.

Photo: David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images


Gavriel M. Wilkins | 06.07.17

For the second consecutive year, the Cleveland Cavaliers find themselves at a crossroads in the NBA Finals, down 2-0 against the red-hot Golden State Warriors.

Where Kyrie Irving has his seat in the middle of all the action once again.

You can analyze this series over and over again, to uncover what has gone wrong thus far.

However, one thing is certain:

The Warriors feature two MVP-caliber players on their roster, while the Cavs only boast one.

The following numbers through the first two games for LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Irving show that the 25-year-old point guard is not performing to the level in which the other stars in this series have.

Stats

 

Statistics courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info

This is not to say that Irving has disappeared completely, but in order for the Cavs to repeat as NBA champions, they will need better performances from their All-Star in the coming days on the game’s biggest stage.

And play above and beyond the level in which he showcased to cap off last year’s Finals.

“Defensively, now he has to do a lot more,” said Cavs coach Tyronn Lue when asked to evaluate Irving’s performance so far. “Running around with Steph [Curry] and chasing Klay [Thompson] and chasing Steph and constantly having to be on alert, it takes a lot out of you offensively.”

A specific place where Golden State defenders have not made life any easier for Irving, as the Warriors are placing multiple players from the likes of Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant on the 6-foot-3 guard whenever he touches the ball.

“Just seeing a lot of bodies,” Irving stated to the media following Game 2. “They’re obviously trying to make a few other guys make plays and when we’re coming off our isolations, they’re bringing a few more bodies to clog the lane. For us, just see the weakside action and be able to make the passes.”

While it might be easier to find shooters on the Cavaliers’ floor come Game 3, the team must find a way to knock down the shots they draw from beyond the arc sometime soon. Cleveland shot 19-for-60 from 3-point range in their first two games against the Warriors on the road, nowhere near the 38.4 percent in which they shot during the regular season to finish second-best in the league.

Yet isolations are a critical component within the Cavs offensive scheme under Lue, a coach who loves to feature Irving in these type of sets this time of year.

Part of the team’s game plan coming in against the Warriors, was to run pick-and-roll sets that would cause Golden State to switch on certain assignments and find suitable one-on-one matchups for James and Irving to take advantage of.

Most of these opportunities have not come around too often throughout the first two games, and when they have, Irving has struggled to make things happen on the offensive end — missing most of his shots on the front end of the rim, which could indicate that his legs are tired from all the activity that the Warriors have forced him respond to, by defending the likes of Thompson and Curry on the wing.

In the third quarter of Game 2, Irving shot 1-for-5 from the field to finish with just two points and one assist, while his defensive assignment in Curry would put up 12 points, seven rebounds, and five assists en route to earning a triple-double.

“They jumped on us again,” said Irving in regards to the Warriors play in the second half. “Got an open three, Steph gets to the line a few times…and they created a bit of a lead where they could play comfortable.”

Irving might have played worse through the first two games of last year’s Finals versus the Warriors surprisingly, scoring 36 points on 12-for-36 shooting with six rebounds, six steals, and five assists, before he posted 30 points in Game 3 to help keep the Cavs’ championship hopes alive.

But that team featured Harrison Barnes, not Kevin Durant.

“They’re a different team,” James said addressing the Warriors current roster. “You guys asked me, ‘What was the difference?’ And I told you. They’re a different team.

Although it may be a huge burden to ask Irving to make up for the star power in which Golden State brings, it was James himself who said that he was indeed a player worthy of being within the MVP conversation not too long ago.

The game’s best players seek to come up big against the best competition.

Now would be the time for Irving to prove that he belongs in that pool.

“They took care of home court. We understand that,” Irving said. “Down 0-2, going back home, you have to live with those odds. You have to remain non-wavering. As I say, never waver in terms of whatever the outlook looks like. We understand who we are and we stay the course.”

Tyronn Lue Plans To Remain With J.R. Smith Over Iman Shumpert For Game 3 Of The NBA Finals

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Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard J.R. Smith in action during team practice and media availability at the NBA Finals on Tuesday.

Photo: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images


Gavriel M. Wilkins | 06.06.17

J.R. Smith is playing arguably the worst stretch of basketball in his career.

The 6-foot-6 shooting guard has scored just three points on a total of six shot attempts through the first two games of the NBA Finals, and struggled immensely on the defensive end, where he has committed a slew of ill-advised fouls.

As a result, many sources speculated that Cavs coach Tyronn Lue would move Smith to the bench in favor of Iman Shumpert, who played more aggressively on both ends of the floor in Game 2.

However, Lue quickly put an end to those reports on Tuesday.

“We’re not going to change our game because of who we are playing,” Lue said to the media following the Cavs team practice.

“I’m not doing it.”

This makes for an interesting storyline to watch over the next 24 hours, as Lue is not a coach who is afraid to alter his lineup when he needs to. In last year’s Finals, the 40-year-old general was quick to place the likes of Channing Frye and Matthew Dellavedova on the pine from the moment they proved to be unworthy of major minutes.

Lue also benched Kevin Love in favor of Richard Jefferson, inserting the veteran forward in the starting lineup for two games during key stretches of contests.

While Smith has played a key factor to the Cavs’ success over the last few years with his defense and shooting, this past year has been a rough journey for him after having to deal with injuries and personal family crisis.

Should his struggles continue, then fans in The Land can only find themselves waiting until next year once again, as they will have a difficult time fighting back in this series without him performing at a high level.

It is quite admirable to see Lue show confidence in Smith, and while adding Shumpert into the starting lineup might not change much, this move is still a gamble.

Will Smith find a way to validate his coach’s trust in Game 3?

Lue will need him to do so, as the clock to make critical adjustments is ticking by the hour.

 

 

 

 

The Won For All Podcast: Discussing The First Two Games of The 2017 NBA Finals And More With Brandon Willingham From Cavscoaster

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LeBron James participates in the Cavaliers team practice prior to Game 2 of the NBA Finals at the Warriors practice facility on June 3 in Oakland, California.

Photo: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images


Gavriel M. Wilkins | 06.06.17

Good afternoon everyone!

Earlier today, I had the opportunity to sit down with writer/editor Brandon Willingham of the Cavscoaster blog once again for another edition of the Won For All podcast.

In the following episode, Brandon and I share our takeaways on the first two games of 2017 NBA Finals, and discuss what specific adjustments the Cavaliers should seek to make after falling short against the Golden State Warriors in Game 2.

Feel free to share your own thoughts on these matters and more, through live-tweeting us as you listen @CAVScoaster and @WonForAll.

Enjoy!

Won For All’s 3 Keys For The Cavs In Game 2 Of The NBA Finals

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Cavs forward LeBron James takes to the court for warmups prior to Game 2 of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena.

Photo: Ronald Martinez/NBAE via Getty Images


Gavriel M. Wilkins | 06.04.17

Although Game 2 of the NBA Finals is only an hour away, it does not feel as if the Cleveland Cavaliers have played a game this week.

In Game 1, Kevin Durant put together arguably his best game this postseason — scoring 38 points on a series of dunks and 3-point shots, to guide the Golden State Warriors past the Cavs in a 113-91 victory at home.

However, this series is far from over.

Do the Cavaliers have what it takes to show up and pull out a win in Oakland on Sunday evening?

Here is Won For All’s three keys for the defending world champs in Game 2:

Limiting Turnovers

In order for the Cavs to draw even with the Warriors in this series, they must find a way to take better care of the basketball in Game 2.

LeBron James had a total of eight turnovers in the series opener, and there were times when he and Kyrie Irving failed to show enough patience on the offensive end, as they sought to create for others.

During the third quarter of Game 1, the Cavs had a series of possessions where they launched up haphazard shots — leading to a series of fastbreak opportunities for the Warriors throughout the night.

If the Cavs use their offense as their defense and protect the basketball, then they can possibly find a way to create good looks for one another. This could help them capture a victory in Game 2 — seizing critical momentum before the series shifts back to Cleveland for Games 3 and 4.

Slowing Down The Pace Of The Game

It might sound crazy on the surface, but the Cavs must find a way to slow down the pace on offense as much as possible.

One way in which they could look to do this is by employing James down low in the post to operate against Kevin Durant.

No one is greater than the 6-foot-8 forward when it comes to taking advantage of given mismatches and exploiting team’s weaknesses, and slowing down the overall tempo of the game could help the Cavs limit the Warriors from getting out in transition.

This in turn could help limit Golden State’s offensive attack, and give James and other key pieces on the Cavs a chance to play heavier minutes throughout the night. Cleveland will need them to shoulder a significant load in order to win.

The Supporting Cast Must Come To Play

On top of all of these key factors, the supporting cast of the Cavs must play better in Game 2.

J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson both put together poor outings in Game 1, scoring only three points combined on 1-of-7 shooting from the field. Kyle Korver and Deron Williams managed to go scoreless in their first ever NBA Finals game.

Should the Cavs seek to capture back-to-back titles, then both players must find a way to step up and make a positive impact before it is too late.

The Cavs are a far better team than the one we watched in Game 1, as they beat themselves due to slew of unforced errors.

Yet despite the loss, the team has a chance to redeem themselves and chalk their most recent showing up as a lesson learned.

As not all hope is lost.

For more updates, news, and information surrounding the Cavaliers, follow our official Twitter page @WonForAll

Views From The Land: A Quick Glance On All Of The Latest Stories Surrounding The Cavs This Week

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Kyrie Irving is the latest superstar to grace the cover of the NBA 2K franchise.

Photo: Allen Einstein/NBAE via Getty Images


Gavriel M. Wilkins | 06.03.17

Hello everyone!

The NBA Finals are officially underway, as the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors are engaged in yet another battle for the third consecutive June in a row.

Adding another chapter in what has become one of the most intriguing rivalries in the league today.

Here is some of the latest news to break across the Cavs beat, as we recap and share our thoughts on the hottest stories surrounding key figures off the court this week.

Kyrie Irving Announced As The Official Cover Athlete For NBA 2K18

In just six seasons, Kyrie Irving has managed to take full advantage of the Cavaliers’ rise to notability since the return of LeBron James.

He has garnered his own signature shoe with Nike in December 2014, and earned yet another huge honor thanks to his electrifying performances on the hardwood.

The 25-year-old point guard was recently chosen to be the official cover boy for NBA 2K18, prior to Game 1 of the NBA Finals this past Thursday.

“It’s pretty cool that they even considered me for the cover,” Irving said in a conference call with the Associated Press. “To be gracing the cover is pretty amazing. I’m glad that I can share it with not only my teammates but the organization, our Cleveland fans and just NBA fans in general.”

This is a clever move for the 2K franchise, as Irving is one of the game’s most popular players. The four-time All-Star currently has the highest-selling signature sneaker alongside James, and finished fifth overall in jersey sales this past season — as his popularity has expanded far beyond The Land.

Irving possesses arguably one of the best handles in the game today and is considered by many as the layup king, as he can make mind-blowing moves on the floor that instantly make him a fan favorite among young fans.

While his game may draw skeptics due to his insufficient defensive play, this latest news makes it clear that Irving has already made a name for himself in the public spectrum.


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Photo courtesy of Cavs.com


Cavs Unveil Several New Logos, Adding A Special Color To Its Mix For The 2017-18 Season

Prior to the start of the 2017 NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers revealed their latest insignia for the upcoming season and beyond.

The defending world champions unveiled a new logo suite on Wednesday afternoon, including two new emblems that stand out from the crowd.

The logos are a global shield with the iconic “C-Sword” logo, which showcases an updated wordmark design at the top — followed by a secondary shield that consists of a basketball splitting evenly between the Cavs wine and navy colors.

The team will also be suiting up in new uniforms during the 2017-18 season, as the franchise is set to unveil them later this summer.

“While the foundation of the Cavaliers brand remains steeped in tradition that link generations of fans, it is important that our brand identity reflects who we are in the present and where we are going in the future,” said Cavs chief marketing officer Tracy Marek in the team’s official press release.

The new Cavs’ logos will continue to feature the classic wine and gold colorway — the team’s primary colors during their inaugural season in 1970, with navy remaining in place as a complementary hue. Black will be added to the team’s color palette to pay homage to the 2016 NBA Finals, where the Cavs wore black-sleeved uniforms on the road in Games 5 and 7 to defeat the Warriors in thrilling fashion.

Although most of the designs look as though they have not been changed too drastically, the updated logo suite has been simplified. The Cavs attempted to go for a look with a modern style, and received it with the assistance of Nike.

I do not expect the new uniforms to look quite different from the team’s current sets, but I cannot wait to see them once they are released to the public.


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Cavaliers forward LeBron James addresses the media prior to Saturday’s practice.

Photo: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images


LeBron James’ Los Angeles Home Targeted In Hate Crime

Around the same time in which the Cavaliers unveiled their new logos in a press release, LeBron James’ home in Los Angeles was the target of a racial hate crime on Wednesday afternoon.

TMZ Sports was the first to report the news.

According to the celebrity news and entertainment site, the LAPD and neighborhood patrol team was called out to James’ off-season residence, where the N-word was found spraypainted on his front gate.

James, who purchased the property two years ago, was not present at the time of the incident as he was getting prepared to play in the NBA Finals.

Shortly after hearing the news, James used one of his most recent press conferences to speak out about a dark soliloquy on the eve of one of the game’s premier events in Oakland, California.

Hopefully, whoever did this is found and brought to justice soon. It is truly unfortunate that matters involving racial prejudice and intolerance of others is still a prominent issue within society, as this just goes to show how even the brightest stars in sports and entertainment are not exempt from hatred.

Whether you are located across foreign soil, or the place that is supposed to be known as the land of opportunity, where all men and women are “created equal.”

Won For All’s 3 Takeaways From Game 1 of the NBA Finals

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Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson goes up for the opening tip against Zaza Pachulia of the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night.

Photo: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images


Gavriel M. Wilkins | 06.03.17

On a night in which the Cleveland Cavaliers had a series of unforced errors and lacked offensive production from key role players, the Golden State Warriors were able to take advantage.

Dominating in every aspect of the game.

Kevin Durant posted 38 points with eight rebounds and eight assists, while Stephen Curry scored 28 of his own to help the Warriors defeat the Cavs in Game 1 of the NBA Finals (113-91).

The Cavaliers finished the game with a total of 20 turnovers, and were held to 34.9 percent shooting from the floor in the series opener.

Here is Won For All’s three significant takeaways from Game 1:


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Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving handles the basketball against Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson.

Photo: Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images


Bad Offensive Possessions Can Lead To Bad Defense

The Cavs were out of sync on the defensive end throughout the entire night, leading to a series of easy baskets out in transition for the Warriors.

In turn, players such as Durant took full advantage — driving to the basket untouched on several occasions to slam home a series of rim-rattling dunks as Cavs defenders sought to cover the 3-point line as opposed to the paint.

This played a significant factor in Golden State outscoring Cleveland by a total of 26 points inside in Game 1, as most of the Cavs defensive breakdowns were a result of the team’s overall carelessness with the basketball.

The defending world champs turned it over quite often in this affair, leading to the Warriors scoring 21 points off of turnovers. As a result, Golden State hoisted up more shots (20 more attempts).

To give a team of this caliber an additional amount of looks, can prove to be a fatal blow should this trend continue.

One of the reasons the Cavs defense was so poor in the regular season, was their inability to defend out on the fastbreak. During the 2016-17 campaign, opponents averaged 1.18 points in transition against them with an effective field-goal percentage of 56.3 percent.

While they have improved in the postseason and limited teams to 1.05 points per possession in transition, it still remains as one of the team’s largest weaknesses.

Should the Cavs want to draw even with the Warriors in Game 2, then they must find a way to limit their turnovers  — using their offense as their defense, to prevent Golden State from getting out and running so often.


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Kevin Durant soars through the lane for one of his several dunks, en route to a game-high 38 points in Game 1.

Photo: Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images


Kevin Durant Is Most Certainly Not Harrison Barnes

Last summer, the Warriors enticed Kevin Durant to come out to the Bay Area by clearing out cap space and parting ways with several players part of their 2015 championship run.

One of the players in which Golden State let walk was Harrison Barnes, a 6-foot-8 wing player who went cold from the field during the Warriors postseason run in 2016.

This would lead to the Cavaliers placing bigs such as Tristan Thompson on the former Warriors forward in the NBA Finals, while assigning versatile defenders such as LeBron James to Draymond Green.

Now, that option is no longer available.

Durant went 14-of-26 shooting from the field in Game 1.

This is a far cry from the clip in which Barnes shot against the Cavs in the 2016 NBA Finals at 35.2 percent.

12 out of the 26 shots in which Durant took went uncontested.

LeBron James served as the primary defender on Durant and got burned, as he became virtually invisible helping off of screens on multiple instances that led to open opportunities for the 2014 NBA MVP.

Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue definitely has his work cut out over the next 24 hours, as he might have to insert Derrick Williams and others into the lineup as a way to give Durant multiple looks on the defensive end throughout the series.


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LeBron James heads to the line to shoot free throws in Game 1 of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena.

Photo: Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images


LeBron James Has To Be The Greatest Player On The Floor

For the seventh consecutive summer, LeBron James has had the pleasure of playing on the NBA Finals stage.

He is considered by many to be the best basketball player in the world.

Yet on Thursday night, he was not the brightest star to shine.

That honor belonged to Kevin Durant, followed by Stephen Curry — whose performance in the third quarter helped the Warriors extend their lead and never look back.

Should this be a recurring theme, then part three between these two rivals might not last as long as most experts predicted coming into this long-anticipated showdown.

Most of us know that the Cavs do not possess the star power in which the Warriors have. With Curry and Durant now in the fold, the Warriors feature two MVP players on the floor at the same time. However, James is more than capable of helping his team make up for the talent disadvantage.

The 32-year-old forward has defeated a slew of talented teams throughout his career, including Durant and Curry head-to-head in the Finals — making him one of the few players in league history who can state that.

In Game 1, James posted a near triple-double with 28 points, 15 rebounds, and eight assists.

However, it was the eight turnovers that proved to be costly; leading to a ton of opportunities on the other end for Golden State.

If Cleveland wants to win this series, then LeBron James has to play like the superhero that we have known him to be for over the last decade.

He most certainly possesses the ability to do it.

Game 2 is set for Sunday night in Oakland, California, at 8 p.m. EST, as the Cavs seek to bounce back from their second loss on the 2017 postseason.

For more updates, news, and information surrounding the Cavaliers, follow our official Twitter page @WonForAll

 

The Threematch: Cavs vs. Warriors 2017 NBA Finals Preview

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Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (left) and Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (right) during the 2016 NBA Finals.

Photo: Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports


Gavriel M. Wilkins | 06.01.17

The wait is almost over.

In what has shaped up to become one of the most interesting rivalries in recent memory, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will meet up once again in the NBA Finals this Thursday night — marking the first time ever in league history where two teams have faced off against one another for three consecutive seasons.

The Cavs and Warriors split their two regular season matchups on the season, as Kyrie Irving’s late-game heroics helped the Cavs pull out a 109-108 win on Christmas Day in Cleveland. The Warriors annihilated the defending champs by 35 points less than a month later on their home floor.

However, one could act as though that game never occurred in the north coast — simply because we did not have enough practice time anyway.

Let’s take a look at the series schedule and shed light on some of the matchups that we will see out on the floor, as we reveal who we believe will come out on top at the end of Round 3 in this best-of-seven series.

Tipoff is approximately five hours away.

2017 NBA Finals Schedule

Game 1: Thursday Jun. 1, Cleveland at Golden State, 9 p.m. EST/8 p.m. CST, ABC

Game 2: Sunday Jun. 4, Cleveland at Golden State, 8 p.m. EST/7 p.m. CST, ABC

Game 3: Wednesday Jun. 7, Golden State at Cleveland, 9 p.m. EST/8 p.m. CST, ABC

Game 4: Friday Jun. 9, Golden State at Cleveland, 9 p.m. EST/8 p.m. CST, ABC

*Game 5: Monday Jun. 12, Cleveland at Golden State, 9 p.m. EST/8 p.m. CST, ABC

*Game 6: Thursday Jun. 15, Golden State at Cleveland, 9 p.m. EST/8 p.m. CST, ABC

*Game 7: Sunday Jun. 18, Cleveland at Golden State, 8 p.m. EST/7 p.m. CST, ABC

*If necessary


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Photo: Brian Spurlock/USA Today Sports


The Sequel, Part II: LeBron James and Kevin Durant

This is the matchup that will most certainly draw the attention of most across the country, as the two players will meet up in the NBA Finals for the first time in five years.

In 2012, Kevin Durant led the Oklahoma City Thunder against a dominant Miami Heat team, where he would eventually go down in defeat in a hard-fought, five-game series against King James.

However, much has changed since then.

Both players find themselves in completely new settings, as the two stars return to the game’s biggest stage at the peak of their prowess.

With the roles completely reversed.

James, who was once viewed by many as the league’s poster villain after leaving Cleveland to take his talents to South Beach seven years ago, is now viewed by most within a different light after delivering a championship in his return home. Durant has managed to take the blackguard label as of recent times — the eight-time All-Star and 2014 NBA MVP parted ways with the Thunder after nine seasons, to head out to the Bay Area in pursuit of his first title.

James and Durant each had phenomenal regular-season campaigns, as the two could have challenged the likes of Russell Westbrook and James Harden for MVP had Durant never suffered a rough knee injury in the middle of the year, and LeBron opting to cruise his way through the regular season.

While the two will more than likely not cover one another throughout the series as a way to conserve energy on the offensive end, the game’s premier players will get their chance to do so come crunch time. Especially if this series shapes up to be the classic that we know it can be.


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Photo: Getty Images


Kyrie Irving vs. Stephen Curry

Although most will openly state that Warriors point guard Stephen Curry is the better overall player, Kyrie Irving always seems to take his game to another notch whenever he goes head-to-head against the baby-faced assassin in the NBA Finals.

As a result, these two players battle it out and light the scoreboard up in an “anything you can do, I can do better” type of affair.

Irving is arguably the greatest one-on-one player in the game — particularly within the isolation sets that Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue seeks to involve him in, as he can blow by defenders en route to the rim or hit them with stepback jumpers from beyond the arc — leaving many spectators transfixed to their television screens and mobile devices on a nightly basis.

Hurt or not, Irving put in what ASAP Ferg would call work against Curry last year in the Finals.

Curry is still a dangerous man though. One who can drop 30 points or more on you with his ability to hit shots from downtown at a rapid rate.

But another average performance in the Finals will not cut it in the series known as the threematch, as Irving could possibly be Curry’s Kyrptonite.

With Durant alongside of him now, the two-time reigning NBA MVP will definitely get his fair share of opportunities. Especially should the Cavaliers not try to trap him in any capacity.

This will end up shaping up as one of the most thrilling matchups to watch out for on the court.


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Photo: Associated Press


J.R. Smith vs. Klay Thompson

Known for their abilities to shoot it from beyond the arc and catch fire at any instant, J.R. Smith and Klay Thompson have failed to get much of anything to fall as of late in the NBA playoffs.

Thompson is averaging 14.4 points per game in the playoffs for Golden State, but is shooting a career-worst 38.3 percent from the field. It’s a far cry from the 22.3 points per game that the 27-year-old shooting guard averaged during the regular season, while managing to shoot over 40 percent from the field and long range, respectively.

Smith, who is shooting 44.9 percent from 3-point range, is averaging a quiet 6.6 points per game on the postseason — scoring in double figures just twice in 13 contests. However, he has still managed to play a viable role in Cleveland’s success with his defense as of late.

These two players may not be the main stars that you come to see on the NBA Finals stage, but their play in this series could prove to be critical in determining who comes out with the gold ball for the second time in three seasons.


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Photo: Getty Images


Kevin Love vs. Draymond Green

If there was any period in which Kevin Love could seek to prove himself against the Golden State Warriors, then now would be the greatest time to do it.

Since coming over to the Cavaliers via trade from Minnesota Timberwolves three years ago,  Love has shot only 50 percent just once against the defending Western Conference champions — failing to score at least 10 points or more in five out of his last six contests against them.

Why you ask? It’s quite simple.

Draymond Green.

Considered by many as one of the league’s best defenders, Green can easily defend all five positions on the floor — as he has the ability to block shots, and roam around the passing lanes like a free safety throughout the entirety of a given game.

This is why most consider the fifth-year power forward as a legitimate candidate to take home the Defensive Player of the Year award at the end of the season.

Yet, Love appears to be playing some of his best basketball as of late.

The four-time All-Star is currently averaging 17.2 points and 10.4 rebounds per game for the Cavs, while shooting 45.7 percent from the field.

This is the Kevin Love who the Cavaliers will need to show up against one of the NBA’s top trash talkers. One of the best ways to silence your opponent, is through letting your play speak for itself.

Should this Minnesota Timberwolves-like version of Kevin Love show up in this year’s NBA Finals, then we could find ourselves celebrating yet another world championship in the coming days.


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Photo: Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group


Tristan Thompson vs. Zaza Pachulia

Despite being considered as a starter, Zaza Pachulia has only averaged 14.5 minutes per game for the Warriors in the postseason. Making this battle in the interior between him and Tristan Thompson, a very peculiar one to closely access.

The game will begin with Pachulia on the floor in a big-on-big matchup against Thompson, but Andre Iguodala is the man who plays the bulk of minutes as the Warriors “center.”

This will more than likely not change in these NBA Finals.

Tristan Thompson has proven why the Cavaliers were willing to invest quite mightily in him just over a year ago, as he has found a way to take his free-throw shooting to the next level. The 6-foot-9 center is currently shooting 66.7 percent from the line this postseason, compared to a woeful 49.8 percent on the regular season.

In this series, though, Thompson will seek to thrive where he always does: on the glass.

A place where the big man in last year’s Finals was tracking down offensive rebounds from just about anywhere on the floor. Thompson can take advantage of smaller lineups that the Warriors seek to utilize better than just about any center down low in the NBA. This will allow the Cavs to garner second and third chances in the process.

Cleveland has an 18-3 record on the season, when Thompson records a double-double in his outings.

And with his most recent performances as of late, we could possibly see a couple of those in this best-of-seven series.


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For the first time in his 14-year career, Kyle Korver will get a chance to showcase his skills from downtown in the NBA Finals.

Photo: Getty Images


The Reserves

The Cavs feature a rotation of bench players who can shoot it at an efficient rate. Channing Frye, Kyle Korver, and Deron Williams will look to bury their opponent any chance they get, when they are in a groove during a given night from the floor. You add James alongside of them, and you have yourself a lineup that features one of the game’s greatest playmakers with a plethora of 3-point snipers who can cause a head coach nightmares in preparation for them.

The Warriors feature a trio of veteran players on their bench as well, as Shaun Livingston, David West, and JaVale McGee have all stepped up along the way to contribute to Golden State’s perfect run this postseason.

Patrick McCaw and Ian Clark serve as viable defenders and shooters from long range off set plays.


Prediction

This series has the makings to be an instant classic. The teams come in with a 24-1 record combined through 25 games played in the 2017 NBA playoffs.

In order for the Cavs to pull off the upset, Kevin Love must continue to play at a high level like he has throughout the postseason. Should he not be able to do it against Draymond Green and shooters such as Klay Thompson find their stride again, then the Warriors could prove to be just too much for Cleveland to handle.

Expect the Cavs to trap Stephen Curry just as they have other star point guards throughout their title run this season, in the effort to force guys such as Andre Iguodala and Green to beat them from the perimeter, just as they did with Harrison Barnes in last year’s Finals.

Whoever takes the best care of the basketball and converts on more opportunities out in transition will more than likely be the team that ends up winning the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

The stars from the likes of Irving, Curry and Durant, will all come to play —making for interesting theater.

However, one will shine the brightest out of all.

His name is LeBron James.

The Cavaliers defeat the Golden State Warriors in six games, to become the first team since the 2012-13 Miami Heat to capture back-to-back NBA championships.