Cavaliers need heart, pride fewer mistakes in Finals

Ross Houston
June 5, 2017

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers handles the ball against the Golden State Warriors.

He had 38 points, eight assists, and eight rebounds in Game 1.

For his part, James said his attitude about a playoff game doesn't change whether he is playing before supportive fans in Cleveland or crowds yelling against him on the road. The wear and tear - exacerbated by a seven-game series against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the conference finals - forced Curry to confront an uneasy narrative.

The Warriors have come under a certain level of criticism this year based on their signing of free-agent star Kevin Durant this past offseason. An off-balance KD flicked the ball up while falling backward and being fouled by Love and got a lucky bounce for a three-point play 7:04 before halftime just after Love had hit a 3 on the other end.

Durant was able to get into the lane and throw down dunks easily, while Curry had plenty of wide open three point shots. Their first half was far from ideal, going into the break with only an eight point lead, while Draymond Green, ever present on defence didn't score a point till the end of the third quarter.

The Cavaliers led 9-3 early, before the Warriors went on a 23-7 run to take what was a 26-16 lead.

"I know we'll play better come Sunday", Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said on Friday.

"I don't get caught up in what I've done over the years", James said. The Cavaliers said they wanted to play at a faster pace, and James is setting the tone by getting to the rim four times already.

J.R. Smith is a confident man, despite a Game 1 beat-down at the hands of the Golden State Warriors.

For all the challenges presented to them this season, the Warriors are now poised to avenge their loss to the Cavaliers in last year's Finals and Durant is three wins away from his first title and some validation of his move from OKC. One of - if not the - biggest issues for the Cavaliers in Game 1 - was the number of turnovers. Without Thompson hoarding extra possessions and the Warriors' defense holding Cleveland to just 34.9 percent shooting with 20 turnovers, the Cavs failed to crack the 100-point mark for the first time all postseason. They believe, despite the final score, that they aren't that far off from being able to be the first team all playoffs to truly threaten the Warriors. A great example was only two rounds ago, when the Houston Rockets beat San Antonio by almost 30 in game one of the Western Conference Semifinals.

The last 29 playoff series James has been in have proven that.

"I know (Durant's) ready for that challenge", Curry said of the matchup with James, the reigning Finals MVP.

LeBron committed six of his eight miscues, and Kyrie three of four, in the first stanza as the Warriors outscored Cleveland, 11-4, on the break before halftime.

"I was just really focused on the floor, so anything outside of that, I don't pay any mind to it", he said. They return to action against Cleveland on Sunday night in Oakland.

"I'm going to pull out the "Win one for the Gipper" speech", Kerr joked.

"It's either going to make you feel too good or it's going to make you feel bad about yourself".

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