Into the funereal locker room of the Cleveland Cavaliers charged Dan Gilbert, shouting, “Don’t worry, men. I’ll never blame you. They’re just too damn good.”
“Dan, I won’t tolerate defeatist statements in my hoops sanctum,” said coach Tyronn Lue. “I must ask you to leave.”
“Not until I finish what I came to say. I hope you guys appreciate I’m relieving you of responsibility for the outcome of this series.”
“We were down two-zip to the Warriors last season before we rallied,” said LeBron James.
“That’s when you were by far the best player on the court.”
“You’re suggesting that’s no longer true?” James frowned.
“Suggesting, no. I’m outright stating that Kevin Durant is the best player in this series to date. You’re only a bit behind him after two games, but you’d have to dominate in order for us to win, and no one who’s ever lived can overwhelm Durant the way he’s playing now.”
“We’re going home to Cleveland and that’s where we bushwhack them,” said James.
“Gentlemen, after game one LeBron persuasively told me if you got more shots and had fewer turnovers tonight, we’d have a chance. Well, in a turnabout from the opener, we had less than half as many turnovers as the Warriors and took a hundred shots, eleven more than our greedy opponents. Yet we still lost by nineteen. LeBron played great, attacking the basket from the start and scoring twenty-nine points and compiling eleven rebounds and fourteen assists. Kevin Love scored twenty-seven. Kyrie Irving played fairly well. That’s the point. You corrected the errors but the dike sprung a leak elsewhere: they got fifty-four points on threes, thirty more than us. In game one, they only had a long-range edge of three points. Durant and Steph Curry killed us from downtown and so did Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.”
“We’ll seal off the perimeter like we did in the first game,” said Lue.
“When they shredded us inside,” Gilbert said.
LeBron charged Gilbert, tossed him over his shoulder, and carried him out of the locker room. Returning, he said, “If we win game three, it’s still on. If we don’t, it’s over, though we’ll behave like champions on the Titanic.”