Game 1 of the NBA Finals was fantastic. The Warriors beat the Cavaliers in overtime 124-114.
Going into the series, the feel around the sports world was that we were destined for the fourth movie in a stale series that is getting more and more predictable. The Warriors had won two of the last three Finals and they were coming into this Finals as the overwhelming favorites.
Many were predicting a sweep and were calling the Western Conference Finals between the Rockets and Warriors the real NBA Finals for this year. But alas, that all appears to have been misguided and people are still excited. Game one was great and we may have a great series on our hands. Just look at the going rates and fast sales for NBA Finals tickets to game 2.
What we learned about Cleveland is that the Warriors really can’t stop Lebron James if they don’t have Andre Iguodala on defense as they had for the last few Finals. Klay Thompson can play good defense on Lebron like he did last year but Iguodala has the better size match up. The Warriors are just too small without him. LeBron James did his best to put the team on his back. He had 51 points on 59.4% shooting and did everything he possibly could to keep Cleveland in the game. At one point, the Cavs even had a double digit lead.
We also learned that the Kardashian curse is still very real so it may be in Cleveland’s best interest for Tristan Thompson to get thrown out of the next game too.
Lastly, someone needs to remind J.R. Smith that the scoreboard is right over his head. The Warriors escaped regulation and Taco Bell escaped having to give free tacos to everyone in America because he didn’t pay attention during a free throw in one of the biggest games of his life. They say “the door of history turns on small hinges.” I’d replace the word “hinges” and add the “hydraulics in the sliding window of the Taco Bell drive through.”
Given that James has carried the Cleveland Cavaliers all the way through the playoffs by himself, if they do manage to pull off the upset he should be the only one invited to the championship parade. The rest of the team could get VIP reserved chairs in the crowd along the parade route since they’ve basically just been watching from the stands for the entire playoffs anyway.
What we learned about Golden State is… nothing. The Warriors stayed true to the brand through the whole game. They started the game with a turnover and slipped in some of their classic bad passes and carelessness when they had a lead. As mentioned, they went down by double digits and the ended up winning the game by 10- that’s the Golden State Warriors way. They just use the last five minutes of the second and third quarters to start hitting threes from half court and then put it in autopilot.
The storyline for the Warriors, if there is a new one, is that Steph Curry can play in the Finals. He had 29 points, nine assists and made five three-pointers– some from outrageously far back including a nice buzzer beater. Draymond Green even hit a three and when that happens, it’s pretty much over.
What I’m watching for in game 2 is if Andre Iguodala is finally cleared to play. That will give Kerr his old rotations back and mean that Cleveland will have to have people other than LeBron James doing something. Needless to say, having the other Cavs players involved in a play is not a strength for Cleveland.
Additionally, I’ll be curious to see if the league takes any action against Thompson or Green for getting a little chippy one-on-one how the refereeing will change when those two are one-one-one.
Finally, I’m interested to see if Klay Thompson has some soreness from when J.R. Smith undercut him. Klay’s fall looked like it had the making of a bad injury but he came back and shot lights out. Now that he’ll have a few days to rest on it, could there be some soreness, before game two? We’ll find out.
P.S. It was a blocking foul not a charge. Credit to the refs for reviewing it and getting it right.
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