The Golden State Warriors made quite the statement with their opening 113-91 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the NBA finals.
After an All-Star performance from Kevin Durant, a lackluster defensive performance from the Cavaliers, and 20 total Cleveland turnovers, the Warriors are one step closer to once again reigning supreme as the champions of the basketball world.
Although his squad put on quite the performance Thursday (June 1, 2017) in Oakland, guard Klay Thompson expects a much more physical game from their counterparts come Game 2 tomorrow in California (quotes via Yahoo Sports):
“I think the Cavs on Sunday will make a plan to not let [Durant] get so many easy buckets around the rim,” said Klay Thompson during the media conference call on Friday’s off-day.
“I expect the Cavs to play a more physical game on Sunday to combat that.”
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Cavs forward Kevin Love also indicated that he and his squad could up the defensive pressure in their next meeting, in addition to incorporating tactical open-court fouls:
“We naturally felt like we could have played better, taken the game to them a little bit more and also played with better pace,” he said.
“There were also times where we could have been smarter and made better decisions as far as fouling in the open court when they had an advantage.”
Cleveland center Tristan Thompson put up a less than stellar performance, to say the least, finishing with no points scored and only four rebounds in 22 minutes of play. Love, however, thinks things will be much different for the seven-foot-nine grinder in their next outing:
“I think Tristan will come out in Game 2 and be a lot more assertive and just use his will to get rebounds on both sides of the ball,” said Love.
“He’s so capable and so good at doing that, no matter who we’re playing, against any team in the league.”
It may not look good for Cleveland in the Finals series right now, but they're no strangers to toppling over adversity and achieving NBA greatness. Last year the Cavs and Warriors met in the Finals once again, and the series started off much like it is right now.
The Warriors racked up two back-to-back dominant victories before Cleveland earned their first win of the series in Game 3. Golden State would take Game 4 and earned themselves a 3-1 lead.
Lebron James and the Cavs rallied, however, and were able to string together three straight wins and win the NBA title, shattering the Warriors 3-1 series lead in the process.