The BBC Radio feed in Uganda led its sports recap with the Golden State Warriors’ win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1. On a global level, this is undoubtedly the most in-demand NBA Finals and probably even any American sports final, ever.
Kevin Durant scored 38 points to open the series he went to Golden State to be the difference-maker in and his Warriors won by a score of 113 to 91. LeBron James, put up 28/15/8 but turned it over eight times for Cleveland.
We managed to hit the under despite a 65-point first quarter full of dunks and up-and-down play fueled by a raucous crowd. Then Curry and Durant went to the bench to start the second quarter and things slowed down. Klay Thompson missed a few shots in his opportunity to lead the offense and Cleveland didn’t capitalize. The Warriors won the second quarter, as they did every quarter, and went on to blow it open in the second half.
Books have adjusted their numbers for Game 2, where they had listed the Warriors as 7-point favorites. Golden State is as much as -9 at some shops with two full days before Game 2.
That slower pace to start the second quarter rolled over to the second half. The Warriors put up 33 in the third quarter but many of those points came off of Cleveland turnovers, which helps explain Golden State’s dominance.
It would seem the pace in Game 2 will resemble that of the last three quarters of Game 1, the frantic start to the series behind everybody, including the crowd. Plus, I have a tough time believing Cleveland wants to push the pace, especially in Oakland. The two teams combined for 139 points in the last 36 minutes.
But Stephen Curry thinks his team can play better offense. The obvious place to improve is the three-point shooting; not with Steph himself, who went 6-for-11, nor Durant, who was 3-for-6, but the rest. The three next three guys who hoist the most three’s struggled. Thompson, Draymond Green and Ian Clark shot 1-for-13 from out there and almost certainly will improve in Game 2.
The thing is, both offenses have had such success all season that it’s easy to forget how good the defense they’re going up against is. Both teams have to work infinitesimally harder to score on each possession that the defense’s effect can go unnoticed.
Perhaps that’s part of the reason, along with the public’s reaction to Game 1, why the oddsmakers have lowered their total significantly, some by as many as five points. If the Warriors and the under were, indeed, the sharp sides in Game 1, they aren’t anymore.
I’m still not sure the number can get big enough with the Warriors. My feeling is that the burden on LeBron to both defend Durant and lead the offense is too much and, even if he does do something super-human, Golden State might still have a chance to win. The Cavs aren’t going to swing any momentum in Golden State. I figure Game 2 will be another blowout and Cleveland will have to figure things out back home.
Free Pick: Warriors -8.5