Saturday, June 06, 2015

Game 1 - The Stars are Out

In Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals, the All Stars of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors proved their worth. Cleveland's LeBron James and Kyrie Irving kept their team in the game throughout. Golden State's Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were the clear leaders of a more balanced squad.

Cleveland's Timofey Mozgov, who finished with 16, gave the Cavs something precious early: easy baskets. The Cavs took control early in Oakland and finished the first with a 29-19 lead. The Warriors, of course, did not fade away. Known for their quick strike offense, led by the Splash Brothers, Curry and Thompson brought Golden State back. The Warriors were down just three by halftime.

The third and forth quarters featured the teams taking turns. As soon as it appeared Cleveland would steal Game 1, Golden State came changing back. Unsung forwards Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes both scored in double figures. So did former All Star turned reserve Andre Iguodala, who finished with 15 impactful points.

Besides Mozgov, Cleveland didn't receive much help from its role players. Kevin Love, another star, has been out since the first round. Iman Shumpert played effective defense, and Tristan Thompson added 15 rebounds- including 6 offensive- but both can give more. The streaky shooting J.R. Smith was cold from the field. Cleveland went with an eight man rotation.

Late in the fourth, Curry drove to the basket and got past Irving. Irving recovered to block Curry's shot with his left hand, saving the game. The contest went to overtime after Shumpert threw up a last second shot.

In the overtime, Cleveland suffered a horrific blow. Irving, who had scored 23 points, fractured his kneecap. He's out for the Finals. Golden State took control at home. Curry ended with 26 points and Thompson added 21.

LeBron finished with 44 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. He added to his brilliant legacy even in a loss. He willed his short-handed team into a highly competitive contest with the best team int he league. Golden State not only notched the most wins in the NBA by far, but they a top team offensively and defensively in terms of efficiency.

Golden State took Game 1 with a 108-100 overtime victory.

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