It's just game one, but it was a great game. NBA MVP Steph Curry and the Warriors took on the best basketball player in the world, Lebron James and the Cavaliers on Thursday in a historically great opening game to the NBA Finals.
In this era of social media, people have a tendency to overreact to games as they're happening. Don't.
Let me preface this by saying I picked the Warriors to win the series in seven games simply because they have a better "team" and I don't trust all of the isolation plays Cleveland runs, it's an unsuccessful and ugly approach to the game. However, I don't think anyone, whether you're rooting for Golden State or Cleveland, should overreact to the first game.
Teams make adjustments and narratives change as series progress. There are some things you should takeaway from the game, but you should realize that with the series being so fresh they're all subject to change.
Primarily, you have to look at how Golden State won and why Cleveland didn't. One of the main reason that stick out is Cleveland's inability to hit consistently form the three, which is obviously one of those factors that are subject to change.
The Cavs shot 9-31 (29 percent) from beyond the arc while the Warriors shot 10-27 (37 percent) from deep. J.R. Smith, James and Kyrie Irving combined to go 7-26 from three-point range. Smith, who is just as likely to get really hot as he is to get really cold, was 3-10 from deep.
I don't and you shouldn't expect Smith, Lebron or Kyrie (if he plays) to be this bad from three again, but on the flip side Curry and Klay Thompson also won't combine to go 5-15 from three in too many more games.
Another factor to look at is the poor free throw shooting from the Cavs, which was mostly from LeBron. He went 6-10 from the charity stripe while the rest of the team was 7-9. The Warriors barely missed going 20-22 at the line.
Obviously, these aren't the only reasons Golden State won, such as Cleveland isolating Lebron and him going 18-38 from the field, the fact Cleveland had just three players in double figures while the Warriors had five and/or the lack of scoring from Cleveland's bench.
Going forward Kyrie's health is gonna be a huge factor in this series. He played great until he got hurt toward the end of the game. It'll take Godlike performances from Lebron and big contributions from other players like Smith and Tristan Thompson, which is possible.
The thing is whether Kyrie is going to play or not, this series was destined to change as it continues. Coaches always make adjustments.
Going into the series I wondered how Cleveland would adjust when Golden State went small with Draymond Green at the center position and that's what Warriors coach Steve Kerr did in overtime, which resulted in Cleveland's head coach David Blatt taking center Timofey Mozgov out and leaving Thompson in at the five. This decision led to a win for the Warriors and just two points Golden State practically gave away in overtime for the Cavs.
It'll be interesting going forward to see how Blatt counters a small Warriors lineup. In my opinion it'd be easy just to play Lebron more at the four or five with shooters around him as a point-center. However, Kyrie's injury makes this lineup more difficult because Matthew Dellavedova isn't as good a shooter and James Jones is a liability on defense. If Kyrie is healthy then Cleveland can send out a Kyrie/Smith/Iman Shumphert/Lebron/Thompson lineup that isn't necessarily small but athletic enough to keep up with Golden State and potentially get a lot of offensive rebounds.
Cleveland also has to figure out a way to get LeBron easier looks, especially if Irving gets sidelined for the next game or even the series. Whether Cleveland comes out with more inefficient hero ball or starts using Lebron in pick-and-rolls or different sets to free him up, Golden State should feature Andre Igoudala on him because he played so well on him in the first game. Because there will be so many adjustments the Warriors should continue to mix it up with multiple defenders such as Thompson, Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes, but Iggy should be the main course.
Whatever the case, game two will tell us if this series is going to be as good as game one was or if we'll be without basketball sooner rather than later.