As I watched the Cleveland Cavaliers fall apart in the second half of Game 1 of the NBA Finals and lose 113-91 to the Golden State Warriors I halfway expected for the Internet to be ablaze with disappointed LeBron James fans hurling themselves from the digital rafters unto the cold, biased, jagged spires of social media sports prognostication. After all, the narrative of Greatest of All Time has been pumped into the atmosphere almost from the moment the NBA regular season kicked off way back in October.
When King James surpassed Michael Jordan on the all-time postseason scoring list, the trumpets heralded him as “in the conversation” to be the greatest of all-time. But the proof is in the proverbial pudding. Despite not having a bad game at all, James was outplayed by his counterpart at small forward on the other team, Kevin Durant. It was only right that Durant came out the gate with guns ablaze seeing as though many had tabbed him to be the heir apparent to LeBron for about five or six years.
Additionally, James’ was uncharacteristically loose with the ball in turning it over eight times. In games where James turns the ball over a substantial number of times, the team dynamic suffers. Players without the ability to create shots, as well as players who rely on James to get them the ball in their sweet spot, all struggled in Game 1. Tristan Thompson had zero points and four rebounds in 22 minutes of play, JR Smith had three points on 28 minutes and free agent acquisition Kyle Korver had zero points in 20 minutes. Iman Shumpert had five points in 16 minutes.
LeBron James Postgame conference after Golden State Warriors Vs Cleveland Cavaliers Game 1 2017 NBA Finals.
Cleveland had 20 turnovers for the game while Golden State was very stingy with the rock, only turning it over four times. There were five lead changes and five ties for the game, but the Cavaliers’ turnover issues, and Kevin Durant going en fuego, were just too much to overcome.
This blowout occurred despite Klay Thompson having yet another very pedestrian game. Cavs head coach Ty Lue will make adjustments on defense as best he can, but that’ll only give another Golden State player the opportunity to explode, and Thompson is past due. The Cleveland defensive game plan to chase the shooters off the three point line backfired big time as KD recorded six dunks.
Now what? The path of least resistance will be exploited and with all those scorers wearing blue and gold, somebody will inevitably get hot. This is the NBA, after all.
On Sunday it will be on LBJ’s supporting cast to hit shots and play with intensity. Otherwise, all those folks that have been predicting a Golden State Warriors sweep might be more correct than those kneeling at the alter King James may want to believe. LeBron James’ NBA Finals Game One record of 1-7 is a small caveat, though.