OAKLAND (CBS SF) — How times have changed for Golden State Warriors center JaVale McGee.
On Sunday evening, McGee was surrounded by a sea of microphones and reporters after the Warriors 122-103 Game 2 NBA Finals triumph over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
McGee was coming off his second straight start and a 6-for-6 shooting night. He was peppered with questions about his role and impact in the win. It was a far cry from where he found himself just a week earlier.
Against Houston, head coach Steve was forced to go with a smaller line up — McGee was relegated to being a mere cheerleader on the bench. To some, it may have been deflating, but McGee understands his role on the defending champs.
“It’s my job to stay ready,” McGee said. “I just have to figure it out as it goes.”
Whatever he’s figured out, it seems to be working. When he does get into a game, the 7-foot-1 veteran is a blur of activity, constantly setting high screens and then streaking to the basket for a pass and an easy dunk.
“It (being a spark for the team) means a lot,” he said. “I just go out there and give everything I have and try and work as hard as I can. Just run the floor. I feel for a big man I feel I run the floor pretty fluidly.”
When asked about what it’s like playing in the NBA Finals, a smile flashes across the generally low-keyed McGee’s face.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun. It’s the most fun I have ever had in basketball.”
When asked if he is doing anything this season different than he did in last year’s Finals, another smile crosses his face.
“Listen to newer music, that’s it,” he said.
What McGee will admit to is that he is less nervous than last year when he helped power Golden State to the NBA title.
“It’s way less nerves,” he said. “Last year, was the first finals I was in. But now, it’s just basketball.”
McGee said it is a joy to play with four All-Stars who drew the opponents attentions.
“Everybody is not focusing on you,” he said. “They are focused on Draymond…focusing on Klay, KD (Kevin Durant) and Steph scoring. It makes it a lot easier on me.”