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#pounditWednesday, December 7, 2022

JaVale McGee says Game 2 win was ‘most fun I’ve had in basketball’

JaVale McGee

JaVale McGee has played in over 550 games for five different teams during his NBA career, but the veteran big man has never had more fun than he did in the Golden State Warriors’ Game 2 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.

McGee drew a somewhat surprising start in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, and he rewarded Warriors coach Steve Kerr’s confidence in him by scoring 12 points in 18 minutes. It was the 30-year-old’s first ever NBA Finals start, and to say he was excited would be an understatement.

“I wasn’t necessarily surprised,” McGee said, per Melissa Rohlin of the San Jose Mercury News. “But I was honored. Is that the word? Yeah, I was honored.”

McGee threw down two dunks in the first minute of the game, and he was a big reason why the crowd at Oracle Arena was hyped up from the opening tip. He said the fans were so loud he had trouble communicating with his teammates.

“I’m trying to call screens for [Draymond Green] while he’s on LeBron [James] and he can’t hear me,” McGee said. “I’m screaming at the top of my lungs.”

The Warriors’ four All-Star starters typically play well when McGee starts alongside them, and JaVale thinks that has something to do with opposing teams paying no attention to him. He said his job is simply to “get to the open spot and just dunk the ball” when defenders try to stop Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.

While McGee admits he was a bit jittery during last year’s championship run, the 7-footer says he’s now just having fun.

“There’s way less nerves,” he said. “Last year was the first Finals I was in, so it was more uhhhh uhhhh. Now it’s just basketball. … It’s the most fun I’ve had in basketball.”

For a guy who has been ruthlessly mocked for some embarrassing flubs throughout his career, it’s nice to see McGee make a contribution to a winning cause. That must be a refreshing feeling for him.


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