The Golden State Warriors survive Lebron’s epic performance and win a highly controversial game 1. Watching the game, 1 thing became apparent right from the start.
That both teams will rely on finding the right mismatch and try to exploit that.
Right off the bat, J.R. Smith backs down on Steph Curry and gets a fairly easy layup. On the other side it was Curry who was getting a favorable matchup against a big man taking him to the hole.
But look, in my opinion, this is what would allow the Cavs to hang around in this series. This type of play from Golden State. This is clearly not Warriors basketball. It’s extremely stagnant, 1 on 1 play as opposed to the free flowing style that they’ve become recognizable for.
This was the theme for both teams in their conference finals matchup.
On his way to a historic 51 points, scoring in a bunch of different ways, the Warriors turned to their only chance of slowing down Lebron. Making him pass it to the open guy and hope that the shooters will have a bad day. Which they certainly did.
Korver was nowhere to be found, same as Jeff Green who I expect a lot of help from. J.R. was his typical inefficient self going 3 for 10. And you know more on him is definitely coming later in this video.
I am by no means a Lebron fan or anything but the type of team that he’s been able to drag all the way to the finals it speaks a lot for his legacy.
Ok so early on in the game we saw Lebron put his head down and basically fly past everyone to the rim. The absence of Andre Iguodala who has been 1 of the best Lebron defenders ever, definitely contributed to that. However, I wanted to point out something extremely interesting and underrated in the second half. Did you notice how Kevon Looney was able to stay in front of him on multiple possessions?
The ending turned out into Curry vs Love mismatch party. On offense, Curry and Durant looked to exploit the slower Love. Although he conceded on a few possessions, Love is a willing and a hard working defender so he was also able to get a few stops.
On the other side, Lebron looked for the switch with Curry, which if you ask me, Golden State gave that very easy.
Nevertheless, the Cavs got what they looked for and it was either Lebron to the hole, or a kick out to a wide open shooter and a miss of course. This game would have been over early if it wasn’t for Kevin Love helping out Lebron with some key baskets late in the game.
With an and 1 on James, the Cavs are up by 2 and we enter controversy.
Durant drives to the basket, James steps in from the weak side and initially gets the charge, which would have given the Cavs a possession on top of their lead. Instead, officials gather to look at the tape to see if he was in the restricted area, which clearly he wasn’t. However, the referees overruled the call, and called a blocking foul saying that Lebron was still moving. As C.J. Mccollum tweeted out among many others who were watching the game, the referees have never overturned a ruling based on the movement. They’ve only done it based on the restricted area positioning.
So, was Lebron moving? Did he beat KD to the spot? It’s extremely close and in my opinion definitely not enough to call it the other way, as the referee guide suggests that overturning a ruling can only be done based on obvious, conclusive evidence.
Moving on tho, there’s more. After Durant’s free throws, Lebron gets yet another tough basket and Curry responds with an and 1 putting Golden State up 1 with 23 seconds to go.
Ensuing play, in an unprecedented act of calmness, Lebron patiently waits and whips a pass to Hill which is broken up by a Thompson foul, which sets up the stage for probably the ultimate NBA finals debacle.
Hill hits the first and as he misses the second, Smith grabs the rebound and runs away from the basket as time runs out. The cameras would later catch him telling James that he thought the Cavs were up by 1.
This is probably the biggest blunders of Smiths career and we know how many he’s had throughout the years.
And in overtime, this was the key possession that kinda started to end this game.
On the pick and roll, Durant hedges but then runs back to Lebron even though Curry was already on him.
In a miscommunication like this, usually the driver gets an easy layup, but luckily for Golden State Draymond Green is such a huge defensive captain as he sees all this playing out and covers ground to get to Hill. Incredible closeout although with a lot of contact here and no call, as the Warriors begin their transition, and look at Klay. Instead of running to the corner, he curls all the way to the opposite side, as his defender tries to stop Draymond on the drive, Green then finds him in the corner for a wide open 3 and that’s all she wrote as the Cavaliers were unable to recover from this ultimately.
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Video credits to Popular on YouTube – Philippines YouTube channel