Friday, June 3, 2016

Cavaliers - Warriors Game One: This Is The Series We've Been Waiting For?

Could It Also Be Close, Please?
Brief and obvious points from a 15-point Warriors win that, while fun at times, was only rarely must-see viewing...

> The idea that the Warriors could nearly go wire to wire in a game where their starting All-World back court had one of their worst games of the year has to give the Cavs (and ESPN/ABC) serious pause at the idea that the series is going to be long, lucrative and memorable. And while the road team might have some rust to kick off, and every game is its own world in a best of seven, especially one with this much time between games... still. An ordinary game from either guard, and this game is 20+. One from both, and it's 25. And if Klay Thompson plays like he did in the OKC series, it's 30+. Easily.

> I don't know about you, but the drop-off from TNT to ESPN is like night and day, and part of why this game felt less than top-shelf. Instead of analysts that seem excited to be there, and focus almost entirely on the game in front of them, we get people who have to see everything through the lens of their personal experience as failed coaches, or people who admire Grit, even if it's manifest as dirty and dangerous play. I mean, Reggie Miller is an asshat, and he'd be the best thing in the ESPN booth by a mile. It's honestly the only thing to be thankful for in a short series.

> While the Cavs can clearly play better -- lots of close misses at the rim tonight, though some of that is active defense by the Dub bigs -- the fact of this game tonight was that their runs only coincided with rough or disinterested play from the Warriors. This felt more like the regular season, in which the Warriors would get in trouble from overconfidence, than the playoffs where they've honestly been at risk.

> If Kevin Love isn't making shots, the Cavs are in serious trouble when he's on the court, because the sieve-like nature of their defense with both him and Kyrie Irving on the floor is remarkable. Especially in comparison with what the Warriors went through in getting past the Thunder. Draymond Green, in particular, looked like he got out of jail tonight.

> All season long, the Dub bench pushed margins and made every team fight uphill. In the playoffs, that's been missing for a while; even the Blazers made this bench look ordinary at times. Tonight, the benchies were better than the starters. Especially...

> Andre Iguodala, who seems like he wants to repeat as Finals MVP. His defensive work tonight was absurdly good, to the point where he seemed to will margin out of thin air. It's also telling that the Cavs never really got close again after Matthew Dellevedova inadvertently pawed him in the junk. (And yeah, probably an accident, but the fact that Delly didn't apologize immediately, and has a history of really questionable play, makes that play far from a common foul.)

> Make no mistake about it.... if you wanted a long series, this was the game the Cavs had to steal. The Dubs might have been tired (um, anyone that thinks Curry is 100% just because he's had some good moments and his team won is an idiot, which means qualified to work for ESPN) from the short lay off, and HC Steve Kerr usually does his best work later in a series, rather than earlier. Getting worked like this only helps the Cavs if they can get the Dubs to come into Game 2 over-confident, and prone to Confetti Bucket plays that turn into turnovers.

> One last really bad omen for Cleveland; how hard LeBron James was working on putbacks, and how little JR Smith was involved. If James gets tired and/or Smith doesn't come up big, Cleveland's path to victory closes to nothing. They certainly aren't winning this with depth or Ty Lue coming up with a genius plan.

See you for Game Two, sometime next week! (OK, Sunday night. Still, point taken?)

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