NBA Finals Game 1 Recap
Hey, after all it is the 2017 playoffs: So, of course, you should not be surprised that we had a Game 1 blowout last night in these NBA Finals!
As we told you earlier, we entered this championship round having seen 44 of the 74 previous post-season games being decided by twin-figure margins and so why shouldn't Game 1 of these much-hyped Finals not follow that script?
The Golden State Warriors - a solid 7.5-point betting favorite in Game 1 and a 3-to-1 betting favorite to cop this series (we saw a last-minute price of Golden State at minus 305; Cleveland took back + 265) - truly enjoyed this laugher even though it took some LeBron James body-blows early before making this a one-sided affair.
Yes, Kevin Durant stole the show with his sizzling 38-point, 8-assist, 8-rebound performance and the Warriors committed a miniscule 4 turnovers (thus tying an NBA Finals record set two other times in this millennium) while dishing out a whopping 31 assists but maybe the real story from this opener from Oakland was that the defending champion Cavaliers played tight (see 20 Cleveland turnovers) and didn't defend very wisely either as Tyronn Lue's club allowed far too many uncontested drives/dunks by Durant and Company.
THE NBA FINALS - GAME 1 RE-CAP
GOLDEN STATE (-7.5) 113, CLEVELAND 91 - Warriors lead series 1-0; Game 2 is Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC
Gotta admit that we agreed with the ever-changing halftime panel the ABC/ESPN folks rolled out in Game 1 - we thought the Cavaliers should have felt fortunate to be down just 60-52 at intermission considering Durant was dunking up a storm and the Cavaliers were not getting many open looks aside from the handful of in-the-paint gimmes that both teams missed in the game's opening three or four minutes of play.
Still, it was Golden State that cracked the game wide open at the very start of the third quarter - we agree with acting Warriors coach Mike Brown who mentioned a dive-on-the-loose-ball play by G-State's Draymond Green "set the tone" - and before you knew it Golden State had scored the first 13 points of the third quarter and truly put this series opener on ice.
Stephen Curry's 28 points - he drilled six trifectas in all - combined with Durant's point total to make up nearly 59 percent of Golden State's offensive production and you wonder what this one would have looked like if Klay Thompson could have hit the side of the barn (see a dreary 3-of-16 FG shooting for 6 points)!
We're not buying the notion that James looked "tired" - he charged out of the starting gate with 15 early points en route to his eventual stat line of 28 points, 15 rebounds and 8 assists but note the Cavs were a - 22 with "The King" on the court and his defensive effort was appallingly bad on Durant.
The Cavs marched off the court in a somber tone at game's end but - truth be told - they didn't appear to have been all that ready to play with post passing a real mess and three-point shooting a dud (see 11-of-31) and they tended to - as Brown put it - "flatten out" in defensive transition and thus covered the likes of Curry and Thompson when those guys darted to designated spots in the corners and left Durant unguarded for an array of right-down-the-middle dunks.
No doubt the Game 1 game plan was highly flawed for Lue and Company: But from the sheer "eye test" it was obvious that Golden State was the head-and-shoulders more talented team in this Finals opener ... now we'll have to see if that stays true a couple of nights from now.