Warriors Reign Game One
The Golden State Warriors remain undefeated in the postseason and took the reigns early on in the NBA Finals with a 1-0 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers, with a final score of 113-91. Both teams are delivering the hype and Game 1 did not disappoint. Lebron and co. couldn’t stop the massive performance from Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry putting up 38 points and 28 points respectively. History favors the opposing team facing Lebron in the first game (James’ record is 1-7 in all game 1s in the finals he’s participated in), but this series is far from over. Shades of blowing the infamous 3-1 lead still loom over Golden State, in their vengeful hopes of bringing back the Larry O’Brien trophy to the Bay Area.
The way the first game played out, Warriors fans can stay hopeful. One thing that fans should take away from this first game is players, fans, and analysts ability to approach this series with a new and fresh perspective. This is the first NBA finals where the same teams have fought for the title of world champions for three straight years. Seeing a new rivalry stir up between two teams jam packed with MVP and All-Star status lineups provides an exciting landscape to hold these Finals on. These Finals will surely determine who is the greatest NBA team.
The first quarter was the catalyst that propelled the Warriors to their 22 point win. Scoring more points than the Cavs in every single quarter and consistently having a 20 point lead gave Golden State confidence knowing that they would take this first game. The Warriors, known for their nicknames such as “The Splash Brothers”, for draining shots from the 3 point line, did quite the opposite last night. Golden State had a 42.5% on field goals compared to the 34.9% that of Cleveland.
I think this is a smart strategy. While the opposing teams know that most points scored by Golden State are made from beyond the arch, now would be the time to highlight the athleticism of Durant, Curry, and Green, by playing aggressive in the paint. The difference between the two is a staggering 30 points for the Cavs and 56 for Golden State. While the Cavaliers were focused on covering the shooters, this left the lane wide open for Durant to use his reach to dunk, and score easy points that James could have halted.
Another mistake the Cavs made were not going for three point opportunities. Wayne Gretzky would have been no doubt disappointed. Love, Irving, and James were the only notable three point performances that came out of the starters going 3-6, 3-4, and 2-6. Another interesting fact to point out is how Mike Brown played the bench. 13 Warriors got playing time totalling up to 16 points. However on the Cavs side, only 12, with far less field goals made. Klay Thompson did not have a great night offensively. Going 0-3 for field goals and 0-0 from the 3 point line. If the Golden State Warriors can gain a 22 point win without one of their dominant shooters, they prove that they have a deep bench and are capable of finding different and possibly better ways to win.
Aside from the 20 turnovers from the Cavs and their lack of intensity, this should make for an interesting series and an even better rivalry.