3 SHOTS | 3 observations from first half of Cleveland Cavaliers-Golden State Warriors Game 1
Welcome back to '3 Shots' as we keep our eyes on the Cavaliers and Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Golden State is on top at the half by the score of 60-52. Kevin Durant leads all scorers with 23 points, LeBron James tops the Cavs with 19. Here's what we've noticed to this point:
1. Always good to frustrate Draymond Green
This was one of the few things that went right for the Cavs in the half. Green is the lightning rod that seems to charge his teammates when times are toughest. He drew two fouls early in the first quarter, the second after Kevin Love took a charge. The more you can get Draymond's attention focused on the referees, the better your chances of success in the mental chess match of this series. Green was held scoreless in the first half.
2. Cavaliers struggling on the boards and in the paint
For the first time this postseason, an opponent is out-muscling the Wine and Gold on the boards. Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love were held to four combined rebounds in the first quarter. JaVale McGee came off the bench and had five on his own. The Warriors had eight offensive boards in the opening 12 minutes as well. The Cavs cannot afford to lose the second-shot opportunity game against this explosive Golden State team. Late in the 2nd quarter, Mike Breen gave a very chilling stat during ABC's coverage of the game: The Warriors had 36 points in the paint to just 12 for the Wine and Gold. That can't happen either. (Just an idea, it's probably not good to let Durant have open dunk after open dunk.)
At the half, Love has 12 rebounds, Thompson has just one.
3. Tyronn Lue maneuvering the Cavaliers lineup
Watching the Cavaliers in the first half, it's become apparent that the plan for Head Coach Ty Lue is to keep at least two members of the 'Big 3' on the floor at the same time. LeBron James played the entire first quarter and then joined Kevin Love with the second unit to start the second quarter. Then Lue subbed Kyrie Irving back in. With the bench struggling to score, Lue can't afford to be without scoring punch for any amount of time. The Big 3 have scored 44 of the Cavaliers 52 points. Someone else needs to hit a few baskets to help the cause.