Game one of the NBA Finals took place last night in a rematch of last years Final between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Golden State Warriors with League MVP Stephen Curry looked more like the team that won 73 games and less like the team that was down 3-1 to the Oklahoma City Thunder just last week. Now going into game two on Sunday in the Oracle Arena, Lebron James and the Cavaliers are looking for answers after a 104-89 loss. There are many takeaways following this game, and many adjustments that must be made if Cleveland wants to get back into this series.
NBA Finals: Changes Must be Made in Cleveland for Game Two
Golden State looked like the better team throughout the game and looked like the team with a deep roster. Shaun Livingston who is probably the 7th or 8th best player on the Warriors roster, led the team in points with a personal Playoff best with 20 points. The bench from Golden State was sensational from Livingston to Leandro Barbosa, and Andre Iguodola who was last years Finals MVP. The Warriors bench outscored Cleveland’s bench 45 to 10. Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 20 points. Yes you read that right. The Splash Brothers shot 8-27 and the Warriors still won handily.
The big 3 for Cleveland of Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, and Lebron James all played well but it wasn’t enough. J.R. Smith only took 3 shots and the bench was non-existent. The Warriors were creative and how they guarded Channing Frye when he was on the floor which made him a non factor and limited his minutes.
Golden State doesn’t need to make many changes other than Curry and Thompson hitting shots. Golden State has to feel good about how their bench played but the bench will not do that every game and need Curry and Thompson to step up and play up to their ability. Draymond Green was the stat stuffer and filled up all the categories and did a good job of guarding every position.
Now for the Cavilers. They need to find a way to handle Golden State’s small lineup. The bigs of Cleveland are too slow to be following Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes around the perimeter. I think Cleveland could play a small lineup of their own with James at the center position to match Draymond and put four guards around him. Irving and James need to finish around the basket to create space for their shooters in Love and Frye and Smith. If they do not finish around the basket their will be no space for their knockdown shooters. When they have Frye on the court they need to find a way to get him involved in the offense. Last night Golden State was putting a small guard on him because he is a knock down shooter and does not post up.
Game Two Prediction
Golden State’s bench doesn’t play as well, but won’t have to as Klay Thompson and Steph Curry make open shots. Cleveland still has no answer for the small lineup and Golden State takes a 2-0 series lead as the series shifts to Cleveland. The only way Cleveland can win game two is if they find an answer on defense for Golden State’s small lineup and they have to find a way to get shots on the offensive end for Smith, Frye and Love to create more room in the paint for straight line drives.
Main Photo: CLEVELAND, UNITED STATES – JUNE 16: LeBron James Cavaliers is seen during the Game 6 of the 2015 NBA Finals between Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on June 16, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)