Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 2, featuring reoccurring rivals the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, was packed with show-stealing moves by star players on both sides.
Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, the Warriors continuously overcame their opposition with very close scores, finishing the first round of the finals with a 113-91 victory.
Warriors’ Steph Curry scored the first 13 points of the second quarter, giving the team a maintainable lead. He scored a total of 28 points on six out of 11 three-pointers, with 10 assists. At the same time, superstar Kevin Durant scored 38 points with eight rebounds and eight assists. Durant impressed the crowd through a variety of dunks as well.
Cavaliers’ LeBron James led the team with 28 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists, but eight turnovers. Kyrie Irving also gave a huge hand with 24 points, and Kevin Love with 15 points.
One of the Cavaliers’ biggest weaknesses is their inability to keep the same offensive pace as the Warriors. The team could have done a better job of pressuring the ball-handlers to reach the passing lane and obtaining more production from the bench.
NBA analysts point out that if the Cavaliers slow down their pace and focus their offense, clean up any mistakes that the Warriors capitalized on that caused unnecessary turnovers, and change their lineup, the team can have a much higher chance of coming back to win the finals. The combination of players Richard Jefferson, Kyle Korver, and Love was not optimal for the game, and essentials Deron Williams and Tristan Thompson had nowhere near enough time on the court.
While many expected the Warriors to win, just as many looked toward the Cavaliers. Some believed a jump-shooting team like the Warriors would not be able to win the finals, but the team proved such critics wrong with synchronized and organized playing. At the same time, the computer calculated prediction for the Cavaliers was significantly lower than the Warriors’ 63 percent at 37 percent due to lower stats for the regular and post season.
NBA experts Lee Jenkins, Ben Golliver, Andrew Sharp, Chris Ballard, Rob Mahoney, Rohan Nadkarni, and DeAntae Prince all predict for the Cavaliers to fall to the Warriors in the fourth, fifth, or sixth game of the series, according to “Sports Illustrated.” Each believed that the Warriors proved they are a much better team than in 2016 during their past games, and that the odds were too stacked against the Cavaliers who rely on their superstar players.
Senior Connor Schmidt says, “After the first game, I’m really not getting my hopes up for the defending champs. The Warriors maintained a lead throughout the whole game, and the Cavs seemed frantic and all over the place.”
On the opposite side of the argument, Jeremy Woo and Matt Dollinger are expecting the unexpected after last year’s miracle win. In a sense, anything could happen at any time, and no one can really know what to expect.
Senior Chris Hinger says, “I’m not gonna rule anything out yet because the Cavs always throw surprises at you at the very last second. The games are always interesting due to the team’s extreme rivalry and bold moves so I’m not disappointed at all.”
Who do you think is going to take the win in the NBA finals this year and why?