Welcome back to '3 Shots' as we keep our eyes on Game 2 of the NBA Finals at the Oracle. The Cavs trail the series, 1-0, and in tonight's game, they're down by three at the half, 67-64.
Here's what we've noticed so far in Game 1:
1. Kyrie Irving rebounded after a sluggish start
At one point, Kyrie looked like he contracted the LeBron James flu from Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. He's didn't have this evening that we've seen from him throughout the playoffs. He looked tentative against the Warrior defense, dribbling too much and making bad passes. But late in the second quarter, he seemed to find himself. He's 4-11 from the field with 10 points and 3 turnovers, including a runner at the buzzer before halftime. There's no way the Cavs can steal a game in Oakland without an engaged Kyrie Irving.
And by the way, J.R. Smith has got to start making some plays. He's scoreless in the half. Tristan Thompson has been very quiet as well.
2. Golden State's defense is much better than advertised
Because the Warriors are a scoring machine, featuring Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson amongst others, we tend to overlook how good of a defensive team they are. They do an outstanding job helping each other out. Their length allows them to cover a lot of ground and disrupt the flow of the Cavs' offense. Kevin Durant has a pair of blocked shots, including a sequence where he blocked Kyle Korver's 3-point attempt, then went to the other end and hit a three of his own. That's disheartening to a team. Golden State had five blocked shots in the half as a team and outrebounded the Cavs, 25-20.
3. The Black Uniforms and Steve Kerr's return
There was much conversation before the game about Steve Kerr returning to the Golden State bench for the first time since Game 2 of the first round of the playoffs because of his severe back problems. Considering that the Warriors haven't lost a game in the postseason yet, is it that big of a deal? Hard to tell so far, but I'm not sure Mike Brown would have allowed Draymond Green to stay in the game with three fouls. Kerr did.
As far as the uniforms go: The Cavs decided to bust out the sleeved black jerseys for tonight's contest. They won Games 5 & 7 of last year's NBA Finals at Oracle Arena wearing those threads. I'll say this, they are playing better tonight with them...
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