The city of Cleveland is left bemoaning a lost opportunity last night, as the Cleveland Cavaliers lost to the Golden State Warriors, 108-100 in overtime in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
The Cavs had the ball at the end of regulations and it was in LeBron James’ hands. But, Andre Iguodala did a good job defensively, James missed, and the resulting rebound/flip at the hoop by Iman Shumpert just missed winning the game.
Overtime was a disaster, as Cleveland didn’t score until less than a minute remaining, and Kyrie Irving limped off the floor with an apparent knee problem, perhaps aggravating his tendonitis.
However, let’s look at the bright side.
The wine and gold almost won this game despite not getting much offensively from Shumpert and J.R. Smith. James Jones played 16 minutes and took one shot, missing it.
This means James and Irving, who scored 23 points in an excellent performance, had little help from the players who have performed so well from the perimeter in these playoffs.
And Golden State got a tremendous game from Andre Iguodala, who scored 15 points on 6 of 8 shooting. This year, when shooting more than five times in a game, Iguodala had this kind of performance just five times. Meaning, considering the stage, he played the game of his life, at least offensively.
He’s a 47% shooter from the floor, 35% from behind the arc, yet last night, everything he shot went in the basket. Do we think that will happen again? It’s doubtful.
The problem is, Golden State has other players who can, and it is likely that Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson will score more than the 47 points they combined for yesterday.
However, is it equally likely that the Cavs will get more out of Smith, Shumpert, Dellavedova, and Jones? We would say yes to that as well.
Obviously, the key is Irving’s health. Can he possibly go in Game 2?
Remember, all the Warriors are doing right now is holding serve. No matter what happens Sunday night, if the wine and gold win their home games, the series will be even a two games apiece.
Cleveland had a chance to take this one. There’s no reason to think they can’t do it again, especially if they put the same defensive effort and get more offensively from their long range shooters.
Other thoughts on the game–
Timofey Mozgov was outstanding last night, scoring 16 points and 7 rebounds. He may have to play at that level, at least offensively if the Cavaliers have a chance in this series.
The officials did play a part, making a horrible traveling call on Mozgov late in the fourth quarter on a play that would have given Cleveland a two point lead with less than a minute to go. We understand they missed plays on both side, but that was just wrong.
Also, could they call any one of the five or six moving picks on Andrew Bogut? He’s like a pulling guard on the football field. No wonder Curry and Thompson get wide open looks.
One adjustment the Cavs made was to challenge outlet passes after missed shots, somebody jumped back to try to slow down the Warriors from racing down the floor. It slowed the tempo just enough. A good move by the coaching staff.