NBA Finals game two tonight - Can the Cavaliers rally?

After an extremely tough loss in game one, Cleveland will have to dig deep to get back in these Finals.

Few individuals believed at any point that the Cleveland Cavaliers could win these NBA Finals. An electric 51/8/8 performance by LeBron James had every appearance of being enough to pull off a game one upset. It was not meant to be.

The final sequence of regulation could not have gone much worse than it did for Cleveland. They got a good free throw shooter to the line, but he missed the second attempt. An offensive rebound by JR Smith was wasted as well as he dribbled away pointlessly, unaware of the score.

Understandably deflated, the Cavs got drubbed in overtime by the defending champion Golden State Warriors.

Already underdogs, a game one victory on the road could have turned the tables in this series. Instead, the Warriors get another home game tonight, up 1-0 in the series.

Mentality will be paramount for both teams in game two

For the Warriors, it may be easy to relax a bit after stealing back the game one victory. They need to maintain a "killer" mentality and keep their feet on the gas to try and put away the Finals as quickly as possible.

They had better, because they are still playing LeBron after all.

Cleveland probably hung their heads for a while after the tough loss. If that is still going on, they had better snap out of it. A lot of that starts with their leader, LeBron James. He said that game one was one of the toughest losses of his career.

It’s one of the toughest losses I’ve had in my career as well because of everything that kind of went on with the game and the way we played. It was a tough 24 hours not only for Hill and for myself but for our whole ballclub because we put ourselves in a great position to be successful.
— LeBron James

James is one of the most scrutinized players of our generation, constantly being compared to the greats. For the sake of his legacy, he must rally his troops and get them into the same position they were in in game one. Maybe this time, there will be a different outcome.

The game will be nationally televised tonight at 7:00 PM (CT) on ABC. Tune in for more great basketball.

2018 NBA Finals schedule

A pair of familiar teams are set to face off with the NBA Finals schedule set.

For the fourth consecutive season, the NBA Finals will feature the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors. Part IV will likely appeal to Golden State and LeBron James fans, but many would agree that a shake-up might have been nice.

The Warriors are overwhelming favorites after they dispatched the Chris Paul-less Houston Rockets in game seven to win the Western Conference Finals.

The most that fans can hope for is a competitive series. The Cavaliers will go just as far as the greatness of LeBron James can take them against Golden State's four All-Stars.

Note: 2015 Finals MVP Andre Iguodala has been ruled out for game one with a leg contusion for Golden State. Kevin Love is doubtful for the Cavaliers with a concussion.

***Edit: Kevin Love has since been cleared to play in game one per a Cavaliers' statement.

Opinion time! I (@WilHarrington) would be very surprised to see this series go the distance. I predict that the Cavs will take game three or four at home. That means that Golden State will celebrate on their home floor after game five. We shall see!

NBA Finals schedule

Per NBA.com

Game 1: Thu, May 31: Cavaliers at Warriors, 8 p.m. CT, ABC
Game 2: Sun, June 3: Cavaliers at Warriors, 7 p.m. CT, ABC
Game 3: Wed, June 6: Warriors at Cavaliers, 8 p.m. CT, ABC
Game 4: Fri, June 8: Warriors at Cavaliers, 8 p.m. CT, ABC
*Game 5: Mon, June 11: Cavaliers at Warriors, 8 p.m. CT, ABC
*Game 6: Thu, June 14: Warriors at Cavaliers, 8 p.m. CT, ABC
*Game 7: Sun, June 17: Cavaliers at Warriors, 7 p.m. CT, ABC

* - If Necessary

The NBA Finals are the pinnacle of the greatest basketball league in the world. Stay on top of it right here at The Basketball Movement.

To the fan: Basketball is just a game

A Cleveland Cavaliers fan was recently banned from Quicken Loans Arena for shouting racial slurs.

At its core, basketball is a game. One team tries to get the ball in their opponent's goal, while simultaneously trying to prevent their opponent from scoring in their own goal. There are nuances and rules, but at the base level, it is beautifully simple.

This is how fans should view the sport. It is fun to watch, simple to understand, and filled with players and teams to root for.

To a player, basketball can be more than just a game. Basketball can be an escape, a safe place, and a way of life. Even to a player though, it is at its core a really, really fun game.

Fans can get competitive too, sometimes more than they should. Rooting for your team is encouraged; rooting against your rivals is even alright. However, fans have to know where to draw the line.

Lines were crossed at a Cleveland Cavaliers game

Patty Mills of the San Antonio Spurs went to the line in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game and was met by jeering from an opposing fan. After an investigation by the Cavs, the racial taunting earned the fan a indefinite ban from the arena (to be reviewed after a year's time).

They found him? Wow. Yeah, it’s great that things like that are not happening again. If not, we’d be very hypocritical. ... It can’t be allowed. So it’s great that it happened. I don’t know how they found him, but it’s awesome.
— Mills' Spurs teammate, Manu Ginobili

Sports fans (and parents) are notorious for heckling other human beings. Unfortunately, competitiveness can get the better of decent people, but also can show an individual's true colors.

Players - basketball can be more than a game, so keep honing your craft and as LeBron James likes to say, "strive for greatness". Fans - remember that players are real people and are not machines built for your entertainment. Keep it classy and never shout at a player something you would not have the nerve to say right to their face.

Keep reading about all things hoops right here at The Basketball Movement blog.

Player movement - Cavaliers give up on Isaiah Thomas experiment

About six months after trading Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, the Cavaliers trade him away for role players

The NBA trade deadline is upon us and the player movement is in full swing. Isaiah Thomas was injured when the Boston Celtics first dealt him to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Kyrie Irving last August.

Since coming back from his injury, Thomas has played in 15 games for the Cavs averaging 15 and 5 on just 36 percent shooting from the field (per basketball reference). With the Cavaliers starting to slip in the win column, they were desperate to shake things up at the deadline.

Coming off an extended injury, rust was expected for the 5'9" point guard. Apparently the Cavaliers were expecting more - trading he and Channing Frye to the Los Angeles Lakers for Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson, and a protected 2018 1st round pick.

The Cavs also dealt Derrick Rose and Jae Crowder to Utah for George Hill and Rodney Hood in a three-team deal with the Kings and they are looking to send Dwyane Wade back to Miami per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Apparently the Cavs regret their Celtic and veteran acquisitions.

Crazy how quickly business can change the landscape of the sports world. We already learned about the business of basketball recently with the dealing of Blake Griffin.

Implications of the trade

For the Lakers, this trade makes sense. They lacked outside shooting and now get that in Thomas and Frye, though they also get older. They also cleared cap space for free agent acquisitions in the Summer (Paul George or... LeBron??). The pick is also valuable.

For the Cleveland Cavaliers, the future is less clear. This makes the Irving trade look like a big loss, even with Boston's pick they acquired.

Utah is likely tanking the best they can in the loaded Western Conference.

The Cavs were running out of patience with their team underperforming and Isaiah Thomas appears to have been their scapegoat. They look much different now with the Laker and Utah trades.

We will see if this shake-up re-energizes the Cavs for a push to convince LeBron James to stay. If not, they may have paved him a path to leave for Los Angeles.

With the trade deadline forcing teams to make moves, be sure to keep it locked to The Basketball Movement here and on Twitter @BBall_Movement.