Former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal has some piece of advice for the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers and that is that they should start helping LeBron James or else they are destined to lose at the hands of the defending champion Golden State Warriors in the ongoing NBA Finals.
O’Neal tells the Cavaliers to shape up for Game Three or else they will in deep trouble going into the home stretch of the series wherein they are down 2-0. O’Neal, according to the Associated Press as reported by ESPN, thinks that Cavaliers’ other stars namely Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love need to step up and help James on both ends of the floor. He added that last year’s finals were understandable since they were hounded by injuries, but this year’s finals are a different story line.
“Because remember last year, the storyline was, ‘OK, Golden State, you won a championship, but that’s because Kyrie and Kevin Love weren’t playing.’ Now they’re playing, now you’ve got to play like you know how to play. Kevin Love’s getting punked by Draymond, he really is. I hate to be the one to say it, but he has to step up. You can’t let a guy do the muscle thing in your face and you don’t respond,” O’Neal said.
He believes the Cavaliers has still a shot in getting back into the series, but they have to work as a unit and take it one game at a time. O’Neal feels the pressure that the Cavaliers are in and he linked it to his playing days with the Miami Heat back in 2006 wherein they were down 3-0 and went on to beat the Dallas Mavericks by sweeping the remaining four games to win the championship crown.
“We didn’t feel like we were down and we knew we were better than that team,” he said. “Our whole message was just one game at a time because they’re up, the pressure’s not on them. Once you start to squeeze, the pressure starts to be on them.”
However, Kevin Love is reportedly missing the team’s practice after and is said to be questionable for Game Three which will be played at the Q Arena. Love collided with Golden State Warriors’ Harrison Barnes in Game Two as the two went for an offensive rebound with five minutes remaining in the second quarter wherein no foul was called on the play.
Due to the collision, Love became disoriented and displayed concussion symptoms and had to be taken out of the third quarter. He was then led to the team’s locker room and diagnosed with a concussion.
He was not present during the team’s practice but is optimistic that he could play for Game Three. However, Love has to undergo medical procedures for him to be clinically cleared to play and take part in a highly physical contact sport.
On the other hand, LeBron James stated that the series’ Game Three will be a do-or-die match for them. He adds that losing Game three will dictate their fate in this year’s finals and hopes that they would be able to patch all the loopholes that the Warriors used against them and be able to get back on track to make the series an interesting one.
He added that they must not focus on the fact if Kevin Love will or will not play. He stresses that everyone has to step up and bring the same kind of energy that Love has given the team all season long. James further said that the Cavaliers have to be confident about themselves and take the challenge when coach Tyronn Lue gives them the go signal to play inside the court.
O’Neal has given the advice they so badly need and with Love in question for Game Three James will need all the help he can get from the rest of the Cavaliers, not to mention the energy of the fans as well. Ready or not the Cavaliers must exert more effort to be able to stretch the series and hope for luck to change the tide of time.
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