Culture of Hoops

Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry Own Game 1 of NBA Finals for the Warriors

Screen Capture courtesy of NBA/YouTube.

Screen Capture courtesy of NBA/YouTube.

The Golden State Warriors smoked the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Although the 113-91 final score indicates a blowout, it’s striking to consider that the Warriors should’ve won by a larger margin. Multiple missed layups and a tame 42.5 percent shooting number by Golden State kept the lead from being even more gigantic.

In addition to a below average shooting number from the field, the Warriors went 36 percent from deep and 11-16 from the line. Tying an NBA Finals record, Golden State committed just four turnovers.

Cleveland struggled in large part due to Golden State’s defense, going just 35 percent from the field, 11-31 from three, and 20-25 from the line. They committed 20 turnovers.

The superstar performances in Game 1 came from Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry for the Warriors. Durant dropped 38 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists on a 14-26 shooting game (3-6 on threes). There were multiple wide open dunks for Durant in transition, a fact that revealed how poor Cleveland’s transition defense tends to be.

Curry went 6-11 from deep and totaled 10 assists to go with 28 points. It was pure domination from Durant and Curry as multiple other Golden State players struggled. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson both played stellar defense, but they combined to shoot a mere 6-28 from the floor.

On Cleveland’s end, LeBron James had a strong floor game of 28 points, 15 rebounds, and eight assists. However, James also had eight turnovers and was only 8-12 from the line. Kevin Love had an impressive 21 rebounds, although he had to take 13 shots to reach 15 points. Kyrie Irving went 10-22 for 24 points.

The stats are clear – Cleveland’s stars were between solid and quality, but not spectacular, and the role players for the Cavs were ghosts. Even Tristan Thompson, normally a reliable force, was invisible. He was scoreless and grabbed just four rebounds in 22 minutes. It was perhaps the worst playoff showing of his career.

Beyond Thompson’s struggles for Cleveland, J.R. Smith went 1-4, Deron Williams was utterly miserable and had zero impact, Kyle Korver missed all three of his long-range attempts in 20 minutes, and Iman Shumpert was 2-6 for five points.

As we learned last year and should’ve already known, one game shouldn’t lead to an overreaction. However, the differences between what these two teams offered last year and what they currently present is apparent. The Cavs are primarily the same – the Warriors added Kevin Durant.

During Game 1, that was on display. Durant and Curry controlled the opening game for the NBA Finals, a trend that will likely continue.

Game 2 will be in Oakland on Sunday, 6/4 at 8:00 PM ET.

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