Even last season’s Games 1 and 2 wins were mostly due to a strong team effort with a struggling Steph and Klay Thompson at the helm. “But that’s what stands out”.
Kevin Durant was the star of the show in Game 1, scoring 38 points on 14-of-26 shooting and adding eight rebounds and eight assists. They had a 4-1 record when he played over 30 minutes, with the only losing outcome coming in a game in which Thompson had a double-double.
If this year is anything like last year, we could be in for a classic. With the Warriors dominating the evening, she took it upon herself to serve as a one-woman cheerleading squad for the Cavaliers. A former NBA Coach of the Year, Brown has a great deal of familiarity with LeBron James, having coached him during his first tenure in Cleveland from 2005-10. That’s huge. I think everyone always – you just are looking and waiting for that game of where he just goes off.
“That’s when they become very risky because those guys, they sprint down the lane, they sprint to the 3-point line, they put a lot of pressure on your defense”, LeBron James said. Durant got at least three wide open dunks in transition when a Cavs defender dove towards a shooter in the corner. Golden State had 11 first-half dunks in all, the most of any team in any Finals half in 20 years, Durant (six) leading the way.
“Just because he’s not hitting shots don’t mean we’re going to stop going to him”, Green said. Going into Game Two we’ll be a lot more settled in, a lot better on the defensive end.
“It wasn’t just the third quarter, it was the whole game“, James, who gave up eight turnovers, told reporters after the Cavaliers were outscored by 13 points in the period. That allowed Golden State to take 20 more shots than Cleveland, and the Cavs have no chance when surrendering that many more opportunities.
“This is what every player wants to be, is the highest level of basketball”, Durant said. “He’s been destroying nearly everyone he’s come across in the playoffs on the offensive glass, and (center) Zaza Pachulia didn’t play a ton of minutes, but the minutes he played, especially at the beginning of the game, kind of set the tone for us on the offensive glass”.
“We feel like we can play much better”, Curry said, “especially offensively, early in the game, just finishing better around the rim”. Sure, the Warriors won a record 73 games a year ago but in the end they failed to hold a 3-1 Finals lead as Cleveland rallied back in the series to win Game 7 and steal a title in Oakland. “And that’s one of the things that we need, a guy who can go get a bucket, get to the foul line”. Golden State curbed turnovers in spurts, but they remained the Warriors’ Achilles heel.
“Kevin’s a competitor”, Green said. That’s huge for us.
The Cavaliers have a ton of talent, but they’ll have a tough time competing in this series even if they put up the same total amount of shots in a game. “We got to figure out how to combat that”. “I thought he was wonderful under the circumstances of his injury but to me he looks fresher, faster, stronger than he did a year ago”.