In what can best be described as a masterful performance in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors absolutely dominated in the second half in front of their home crowd.
En route to a 113-91 victory, the Warriors extended their eight-point halftime lead with a 33-20 third quarter advantage that put the game out of reach.
Usually, a box score is a solid indication of how a game played out, and Game 1’s box was no exception.
The Warriors shot 45-for-106 (42.5 percent) for the game, attempting 20 more field goals than the Cavaliers, who went just 30-for-86 (34.9 percent).
But, the story could best be told when looking at team assists and team turnovers. In fact, the Warriors were so careful with the ball that they tied an NBA Finals record in the process.
In the win, the Warriors dished out 31 assists compared to an amazing four turnovers. Conversely, the Cavaliers had just 15 assists and a whopping 20 turnovers in the Game 1 loss. That’s about as different as you can possibly get.
Kevin Durant was the best player on the court in the opening game, dropping 38 points on 14-of-22 shooting along with eight rebounds and eight assists. However, it’s also worth noting that he didn’t commit a single turnover in his performance, which was one of the most impressive aspects of his domination.
In fact, in the last 30 seasons, just one player scored more points than him in a Finals game without committing a single turnover.
It’s worth noting that LeBron James had eight turnovers in the losing effort.
Game 2 is scheduled for Sunday. Both teams will have a strong sense of what to expect moving forward. From Cleveland’s perspective, taking care of the ball while also forcing turnovers will be a major focus.
As you might imagine, that was already part of the game plan heading into the opening game. In fact, Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue foresaw how turning the ball over would virtually make things impossible for his squad against the stacked Warriors roster.
Allowing 24 fast-break points is a good way to ensure a loss.
If the Warriors are able to operate at will as they did in Game 1, this has the potential of being a very short series. Since Cleveland has struggled defensively for most of the season, the question becomes whether or not they have the personnel or ability to adequately defend what is shaping up to be one of the most unstoppable offenses in NBA history.