The Golden State Warriors opened their third straight NBA Finals with a 113-91 drubbing of Cleveland Cavaliers, matching the record for most consecutive post-season wins (13). On the Warriors side, they did not win 73 games again, but they come in with four All Stars in their starting lineup in Curry, Green, Durant and Thompson, all coming in averaging above 10 points a game, to go with at least 5 assists for Curry and Green, as well as 5 rebounds for Durant. Golden State was on a completely different level as it looks to revenge last season's meltdown against Cleveland in the Finals.
Meanwhile, Cleveland, after finishing second-to-last in the National Basketball Association in defense after the all-star break, made mistakes a junior-varsity team would defensively in Game 1, allowing multiple uncontested dunks for Durant and often looking hopelessly lost at that end of the floor.
OAKLAND, USA - Golden State's Stephen Curry joked about singer Rihanna on Saturday, June 3, after the famous Cleveland Cavaliers fan's courtside antics during the NBA Finals opener. Once Golden State got rolling, it was a raucous celebration inside of the arena. That Kevin Durant guy kind of makes a difference, doesn't he?
"Tomorrow I got to be better, play better and just be extra active", he said. "They're going to be way more aggressive in the pick-and-roll on the offensive end and defensively".
"There were certain points where they were getting hands on balls, deflections, and being first to the 50-50 balls". "I get drawn in too much of what I'm doing right now in the present and my only focus is what I can to help this team be better for game two". "They're just going to muck the game up and be physical".
"We realize that although scoring is fun and making the flashy play is fun, at the end of the day, defense is always going to win you a championship", said Klay Thompson, one of the Warriors' better defenders. "But we just got to play our game and the way we know how to play, and that's what's been successful for us". "Can't give a great scorer like Durant easy baskets". The Warriors had 31 assists and just four turnovers. We've got to play in transition.
To be fair, Cleveland dominated the Warriors in fast break points a year ago.
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Cavs the champs but Warriors the favorites in the NBA Finals
Along the way, James gelled well with co-All Stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love , adding another dynamic to the Cavaliers offense. The latter's performance could play an important hand in determining the National Basketball Association 2017 champion.
Underdog Cavs insist they have plenty of bite for Finals
That was LeBron James' same mindset Thursday night, not wanting to think about the Warriors yet. "They're not just laying down". Avery Bradley hit the game-winner from downtown, as he scored 20 points of his own, and dropped three 3-pointers.
Not that they're discussing it.
While there were other factors that led to Golden State's defeat-that LeBron guy is pretty good, and Steph Curry didn't exactly have his best series-Green's absence in Game Five was a major turning point in the series.
The Warriors know how valuable Thompson is to Cleveland in chasing down their misses or finishing the occasional alley-oop, and they did well in using Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee to thwart him. But it's hard to imagine Cleveland pulling a complete 180 on the road just three days removed from Game 1's events.
James won his first of three championships against his rival Durant, but that rivalry has now come full circle with Golden State and Cleveland meeting for the third time in as many years to determine the 2017 National Basketball Association champs.
Draymond Green loved watching Durant do his thing easily down the middle in his first Finals game for Golden State. Hey, you try anything after you get defended to death. You can't go into the game saying, 'Oh, KD is going to have six driving lanes to the rim and where don't get touched and he dunks. On Sunday, King James will try to make it 30.
"We had a lot of unforced turnovers", LeBron added. Before the Finals started, I said the team that settles in the quickest will definitely have Game 1. The crowd murmured in recognition of a scene they had watched before.