Three things you missed from the Golden State Warriors’ Game 1 dismantling of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
We hoped beyond hope the 2017 NBA Finals would make up for one of the most lopsided postseasons in basketball history … and we're still hoping after the Golden State Warriors crushed the Cleveland Cavaliers 113-91 in Game 1 on Thursday night.
— FOX Sports Asia (@FOXSportsAsia) June 2, 2017
With Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry playing out of their minds, your attention probably was locked in on the Golden State superstars. So here are three things you might have missed from the Warriors' massive Game 1 win.
1. The Warriors are daring LeBron James to shoot, which is messing with his head
Golden State spent the entire first quarter going under screens whenever LeBron had the ball, practically begging him to pull up from deep. The Warriors preferred to focus their defensive attention on the rest of Cleveland's shooters and on the paint.
When LeBron missed his first two threes, he started pressing, committing seven turnovers in the first half. By the time he settled in, the game was out of hand.
The importance of forcing LeBron to shoot from deep was on full display in the third quarter, as the Warriors tried to defend three consecutive plays with their typical pick-and-roll scheme, only for LeBron to get the Cavaliers two easy looks at the rim.
If he's going to beat Golden State from deep, so be it. The Warriors have to take their chances.
2. Golden State didn't even play at its very best in a rout
Golden State had a nice mix of good and bad luck in Game 1. On the one hand, the Warriors missed a lot (a lot) of open looks that could have turned this into an even more embarrassing route. On the other, it felt like every single loose ball and every missed shot bounced in Golden State's general direction, giving the Warriors a ton of second chances.
You can't control luck, but you can choose which players take the court — and acting Warriors coach Mike Brown decided his team didn't need to bust out the small-ball lineup with Draymond Green at centre on Thursday night.
Golden State kept that trump card in its back pocket — on a night when Green and Klay Thompson went a combined 6-for-28 from the field for just 15 total points.
At this rate, the Warriors might not need their "Death Lineup" at all.
3. Klay Thompson had a huge game despite his box score stats
Twitter spent the second half of this blowout roasting Thompson for not showing up, which makes one wonder if those people were watching the same game as the rest of us.
Thompson didn't light up the scoreboard in Game 1 because the Warriors had bigger plans for their All-Star wing.
He was the best defensive player on the court for most of Thursday night, as he gave Kevin Love fits in the post, jammed up LeBron James, smothered Kyrie Irving, and silenced Cleveland's wings.
On one play, he guarded both Love and Irving simultaneously, forcing a turnover as the Cavs were left grasping at straws.
Until Cleveland figures out how to slow down Curry and Durant, Thompson probably will keep having quiet offensive nights. Don't confuse that with him playing poorly, though. He was just as important as anyone to Golden State's decisive Game 1 victory.