The 2016 NBA Finals Game 1 was about as exciting as watching paint dry. There was no real excitement in the game and it the outcome was never in doubt. The Warriors controlled the game from the start to the finish and although the Cavs appeared to threaten to take the lead, it was just a mirage to the Cavalier fans. It felt like to me, that the Cavs were just happy to be there.
The obvious difference in this game was the play of the bench and role players for the Warriors. It is hard to imagine that if the high scorer for the Warriors wasn’t named Curry or Thompson that the Warriors would have lost, but that wasn’t the case. Shaun Livingston and a youthful looking Leandro Barbosa were the ones who carried the team and that was all the Warriors needed. Minus some sloppy plays and careless turnovers that cut their lead a few times, the Warriors as a team had their way with the Cavs.
The Cavs bench was a complete non-factor and the whole team looked lost. Seeing how this is the first real team they’ve faced in the Playoffs I thought they would have come out with more energy. Lebron was attacking the paint early then he abandoned it. Their offense was nothing more than isolation plays and kickouts to the 3 point line. There was very little ball movement and that made their offense predictable and stagnant.
This game and the series will come down to the play of role players. Can the Cavs really expect consistent output from the likes of JR Smith, Iman Shumpert, Tristan Thompson or Matthew Dellavedova? The answer is no and it was apparent last night in Game 1. Like last year’s NBA Finals, the Cavs brought a knife to a gun fight and the Warriors have plenty of ammunition to go around.
I realize that there are people out there who think having Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love would tip the scales in the Cavs’ favor but that couldn’t farther from the truth. Kevin Love has been hit or miss in the Playoffs while Kyrie is the more consistent scoring threat. While they can provide the scoring to help keep up with the high scoring Warrior’s offense they both are fundamentally poor defensive players. There is no way Kevin Love can keep up with Draymond Green out on the 3 point line and Curry would just abuse Irving and that was why you saw a lot of Lebron on Curry to stifle him more.
If the Cavs can’t even this series on Sunday night, the Warriors will win in 5 or possibly sweep them. I have a hard time believing both Thompson and Curry will shoot poorly together again this series. The Warriors are too deep and have more scoring options than the Cavs and that is the difference between these two. The Cavs solely rely on Lebron, Kyrie and sometimes Kevin Love to be their scoring threat while the Warriors can have their two stars struggle from the floor and the rest of the team helps put up over 100 points. I know Lebron tried to bring the Miami Heat culture and winning ways to Cleveland but I think after this series is all said and done he is going to wish he stayed in Miami.