CLEVELAND - You could almost feel it coming.
Even though the Cavaliers were only down by 8 at the half to Golden State in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, you just knew the Warriors were just setting up the Wine and Gold for a knockout blow.
The Golden State Hurricane came in the first 3:57 of the third quarter as the Warriors went on a 13-0 run en route to a decisive 113-91 win over the Cavaliers on Thursday night at Oracle Arena.
It was that fast.
But according to LeBron James, trouble was brewing for the Cavaliers even before the Warriors went on the run. "It wasn't just the third quarter, it was the whole game. It started with myself having some turnovers, especially in the first half. I pride myself on not turning the ball over, and I did it too much," he said afterwards.
James had seven turnovers in the first half. The Cavaliers had 20 on the night, which turned into 21 Golden State points. The Warriors coughed it up only 4 times and had 31 assists to just 15 for the Cavs. Not a recipe for success. "There's no way you're going to win a ballgame having 20 turnovers against this team on the road," LeBron said.
James always keeps a close eye on the stat sheet when he talks to the media at the podium. Several other numbers from the loss stood out to the four-time MVP. The Cavs gave up a whopping 56 points in the paint, and another 27 in transition.
Collectively, the 'Big 3' of LeBron, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love combined for 67 points (James had 28, Irving, 24, and Love 15) and 39 rebounds (Love had a whopping 21, James added 15). The rest of the roster was quiet. Tristan Thompson was scoreless and pulled down a harmless four rebounds. J.R. Smith scored the first three points of the night for the defending champs, then nothing after. Kyle Korver and Deron Williams were also scoreless.
So what message does LeBron have for his teammates? "Just get focused on Game 2. We made a lot of mistakes. There's nothing really needs to be said. We know we're capable of playing a lot better. We didn't play as well as we know we're capable of, so we look forward to the next one."
When asked what the complimentary players on the Cavs can do to help pick up the slack, James added, "Just to be themselves and do what they have done throughout the course of the season, throughout the course of the last couple years. Play with energy, play with effort, play with their mind and their bodies and understand what we're trying to accomplish. So it's going to be -- this is The Finals, and we don't care about making mistakes, just play as hard as you can and follow the game plan, have your mind in it. And if your mind is fresh and your mind is into it, then a lot of things take care of itself."
LeBron's Dynamite Drop-in answer of the night:
When asked if there was one thing that stood out about Golden State, in terms of their speed or what have you, James answered simply: "K.D."
That Durant guy was pretty good, wasn't he? 38 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists. "I mean, you take one of the best teams that we had ever assembled last year, that we saw in the regular season and in the post-season, and then in the off-season you add a high-powered offensive talent like that and a great basketball IQ like that, that's what stands out," James elaborated.
The LeBron milestone I almost missed:
James trails only his former Heat teammate Ray Allen for that honor.
The LeBron James Says Highlight of the Night
This is the first time I've ever used a tweet with the "Phantom Cam" for this category. I don't think it will be the last. Pretty sweet.
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