When people think of Cleveland against Golden State, they think of the back-to-back NBA Finals appearances and the rivalry the two teams have created.
Usually when the Cavaliers and Warriors play, it’s an instant thriller. There are heroes and villains, but it’s a custom that the game goes down to the wire. This definitely wasn’t the case in last night’s game.
From beginning to end, Golden State dominated. The Warriors beat the Cavaliers in almost every single category. They out-rebounded the Cavs by 24, outshot them 50% to 35% and had 37 assists compared to the Cavs 11.
The game got a little bit rough at one point. Late in the 2nd quarter, the Cavaliers were down 17 and needed momentum desperately. So when Draymond Green was standing in front of LeBron James when he was driving to the basket, everything was out of hand. Green gave a nudge to LeBron and LBJ flopped a little. Cavs veteran Richard Jefferson stepped in and exchanged some words to Green. Both teams were going too far. Although since it was a hard foul, Green got a flagrant. LeBron talked about the foul by saying,
“I was alright after the hard hit because I’m a football player.” – Sports Illustrated http://www.si.com/nba/2017/01/17/lebron-james-draymond-green-flagrant-foul-football-player
Draymond vs LeBron 👀 pic.twitter.com/Um9bzys8Gu
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 17, 2017
The game was embarrasing for Cleveland. LeBron and Kyrie weren’t themselves. The duo that averages 51 points per game only had 37. The only brightspot was Iman Shumpert, who had one of the best games of his season scoring 15 points and grabbing 9 rebounds.
The Cavs biggest problem was without any question: defense. They allowed Golden State get whatever they wanted on the court. Nobody on the Cavaliers could defend through screens. Curry, Durant and Thompson were getting wide open looks all game.
Before this season, the Warriors looked like the best team in the league on paper, but as the season started they lacked chemistry and it seemed like they couldn’t put their pieces together. Sure, they had a good win-loss record, but their defense was soft. Passing was minimal. and they were struggling to matchup with the best teams in the league.
However, this game looked different: everything started clicking. The Warriors were great on defense, getting many steals that would lead to fastbreak points. The Warriors also had terrific ball movement, it felt like everytime someone scored it was off a pass.
— GoldenStateWarriors (@warriors) January 17, 2017
After many tough-times this season, the Warriors look like they’ve developed into the team everyone thought they’d be. Who knows? Maybe we will look back on this game and remember it as a turning point between these two teams. The Warriors are back in rhythm and it’s scary for top teams in the NBA.
For the Cavs, it’s a shock after winning their last four respectively against the Warriors, and really just a disappointment to see how bad they played. Hopefully Cleveland can regroup and prepare for a possible meeting in the Finals.