2016 NBA Finals – Game 1

The NBA Finals get underway.

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9:02 pm – I just got back home from dinner, and not a moment too soon! That’s because it’s just about time for Game 1 of the 2016 NBA Finals! We all know the deal by now. It’s a rematch of last year’s Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Warriors will be looking to put the finishing touches on their historic season, while the Cavaliers are trying to deliver Cleveland their first championship of any kind since 1964.

9:11 – The Warriors win the opening tip, and the 2016 NBA Finals are underway! Soon after, Kevin Love knocks down a three for the Cavs, scoring the first points of the Finals and putting Cleveland up, 3-0.

9:12 – Andrew Bogut makes a quick shot from short range, and the Warriors are on the board, trailing 3-2. By the way, the Warriors put Harrison Barnes back in the starting lineup tonight, instead of Andre Iguodala, who started Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals.

9:17 – Steph Curry hits a three, and it leads to our very first time out with the score Golden State 14, Cleveland 9 with 7:26 left in the opening quarter. Harrison Barnes, back in the Warriors starting lineup, has made an immediate impact, scoring seven quick points and hitting all three of his shots.

9:23 – LeBron James misses a layup, but Tristan Thompson is there to clean up the mess with an offensive rebound and a layup of his own. The Warriors take their first time out with the score Golden State 16, Cleveland 15 with 5:50 left in the first quarter.

9:24 – A trailer for Star Trek Beyond appears. The Finals bring out all the big movie ads. Along with basketball, I’m a big Star Trek fan, and I’m very much looking forward to being angry and disappointed over this movie this summer.

9:32 – Steph Curry finds Shaun Livingston in the paint for a little one handed shot, and the Cavs take a time out. The score’s Golden State 26, Cleveland 19 with 1:46 left in the first quarter.

9:36 – A good first quarter comes to an end with the score Golden State 28, Cleveland 24. Both teams are off to fine starts, but it’s been the Warriors who have been able to maintain a lead so far. Meanwhile, in the battle for movie commercials, it’s been Ghostbusters 3, Star Trek 1.

9:43 – Leandro Barbossa hits an off-balance shot as he drifts out of bounds. It’s the first points of the second quarter, and it puts the Warriors up, 30-24.

9:45 – Barbossa uses a behind the back dribble to get himself to the hoop for a layup, and it leads to a time out with the score Golden State 36, Cleveland 28 with an even nine minutes left until halftime. The Warriors are building their lead with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson on the bench, although it does help that LeBron’s resting on the Cavs bench as well.

9:51 – We’re going to have a time out with 7:18 remaining until halftime. The score’s Golden State 39, Cleveland 29 as the Warriors bench is really contributing. Shaun Livingston and Leandro Barbossa have combined for 13 quick points off of Golden State’s bench, on 6-7 shooting.

10:04 – We’ve got a time out with the score Golden State 49, Cleveland 41 with 1:46 left in the first half. The Warriors have been keeping their lead without Klay Thompson, who is on the bench with three fouls, but the Cavs are hanging in there.

10:12 – The first half comes to an end with the score Golden State 52, Cleveland 43. It’s been a balanced scoring effort from the Warriors so far, led by 9 points from none other than Harrison Barnes. Six of their players have scored between 6 & 9 points, as everyone’s contributing to remain in the lead. For the Cavs, it’s not nearly as balanced. Kyrie Irving has 13, LeBron James has 11 points and 8 rebounds, and Kevin Love has scored 10 and grabbed 7 boards. Everyone else has combined for just nine points as Cleveland’s shooting just 35.7% from the floor. That being said, they’re lurking around in striking distance, as the Warriors haven’t seemed particularly dominant, despite holding the lead for the entire first half.

10:16 – As the Halftime Report begins, I am going to take the opportunity to say that I would so much rather have the Finals on TNT. They are so much better than ESPN. I promise that’s the only time I will complain about it.

10:19 – It’s time for tonight’s episode of Today In NBA Playoff History, brought to you by the good folks over at Basketball-Reference!

Back on June 2, 2007, these very Cleveland Cavaliers advanced to their first NBA Finals with a 98-82 victory over the Detroit Pistons in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. After winning the first two games by the horrendous score of 79-76, the Pistons dropped four in a row, allowing the Cavs to get to the Finals. Richard Hamilton led the Pistons with 29 points in Game 6, but the Cavs got a special performance off their bench. That’s right, none other than Boobie Gibson went for 31 points on 7-9 shooting, including a perfect 5-5 from three point land. On top of that, he was 12-15 at the free throw line. LeBron James, who is still trying to get the Cavs their first championship here in 2016, finished with 20 points, 14 rebounds and 8 assists, despite shooting just 3-11 from the floor. He made up with it by earning 19 free throws, hitting on 14 of them. Zydrunas Ilgausaks contributed 11 points and 12 rebounds, but this will forever be remembered as the Boobie Gibson Game, thanks to his big performance off the bench. Cleveland would go on to be swept by the Spurs in the ensuing Finals.

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The man who went by “Boobie”.

10:31 – LeBron James knocks down a jumper to kick off the second half scoring, and cut the Cavs deficit down to 52-45.

10:32 – After Klay Thompson finds Draymond Green all alone for a very easy layup, which he somehow almost blew anyway. The Cavs call a time out with the score Golden State 56, Cleveland 45 with 9:56 left in the third. Sooner or later, Cleveland’s going to have to do something to show that they might actually be able to beat the Warriors. Otherwise, this game, and possibly the whole Finals, could be a bust.

10:38 – Right on cue, the Cavs are on a 7-0 run after Tristan Thompson secures a rebound from a missed Kevin Love shot and puts it into the hoop. The Warriors take a time out with the score Golden State 56, Cleveland 52 with 8:04 left in the third quarter. Now this is more like it! I should also have given the Cavs more credit in the first place, as they’ve been able to keep Steph Curry and Klay Thompson quiet tonight. The potent Warriors pair are a combined 4-17 from the field for just ten points.

10:42 – During the time out, Warriors coach Steve Kerr hit his whiteboard/clipboard so hard that it shattered. A big run from the Cavs will do that to you.

10:46 – Kevin Love goes along the baseline, banks the ball through the hoop and draws a foul! He hits the free throw, and this is suddenly a one point game with the Cavs behind, 63-62. Love’s got 13 points and 10 rebounds so far this evening. All right, Cavs, you’ve shown that you have a chance to beat the Warriors.

10:49 – Kevin Love sneaks in for an offensive rebound, and a basket, and the Cavs now have a 64-63 lead! Andre Iguodala answers by finding Draymond Green all alone under the basket with a great pass. Green slams it down and the Warriors go up, 65-64. That is until Matthew Dellavedova throws up an alley-oop for Tristan Thompson who finishes it off with a slam, and Cleveland goes back up, 66-65.

10:50 – Shaun Livingston hits a jumper to put the Warriors up, 67-66, in what’s suddenly become a back and forth game here in the third quarter.

10:51 – LeBron James gets to the hoop for a lefty layup, and the Cavs go up, 68-67. He’s up to 18 points on the night.

10:52 – Steph Curry misses a three, but Shaun Livingston is there for an offensive rebound and a basket, putting the Warriors back on top at 69-68. After LeBron misses a shot, Steph Curry gets into the paint for a layup, and the Warriors extend their lead to 71-68.

On the next possession, the Cavs turn the ball over, and…

FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!

Matthew Dellavedova and Andre Iguodala square off after Iggy takes umbrage after Dellavedova swipes for the ball, misses, and hits Iguodala in his balls. Iggy gets into Delly’s face, and the two are quickly separated. Looks like Dellavedova was just trying to get the basketball, not Iggy’s balls. Of course, this leads to a long-ass replay conference from the refs, completely ruining the great flow this game has developed. Thanks, guys.

10:57 – After a lengthy review, all that happens is Dellavedova gets rightfully called for a foul, and that’s it. No lame technicals are called. Iguodala follows it up by knocking down a three, and the Warriors have their lead up to 74-68.

10:58 – What turned out to be a fun third quarter comes to an end with the score still Golden State 74, Cleveland 68. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson continue to struggle, but the supporting cast for the Warriors continues to excel, as they were able to survive a scare from a great Cavs run. Speaking of the Cavs, they’re shooting just 37.9% as a team, but they’re battling hard and have a chance to make a run at stealing Game 1 out in Oakland.

11:02 – Andre Iguodala kicks off the fourth quarter by hitting a jumper, and the Warriors extend their lead to 76-68.

11:03 – Leandro Barbosa hits his own jumper, and the Cavs take a time out with the score suddenly Golden State 78, Cleveland 68 with 11:10 left in the game and the Warriors on an 11-0 run.

11:10 – Shaun Livingston hits another one of his patented mid-range jumpers, and The Oracle is lit! The score’s Golden State 86, Cleveland 72 with 8:34 left in the ball game. The Warriors have six players who have scored in double-figures so far, none of whom are Steph Curry or Klay Thompson. What an impressive performance by Golden State’s supporting cast tonight!

11:19 – Steph Curry makes a fantastic no-look pass to Andre Iguodala for a dunk, and things have gotten out of hand out in Oakland. The Cavs need a time out, but they’ve already been steamrolled. The score’s Golden State 96, Cleveland 76 with 5:43 remaining. We haven’t seen the Warriors do this to an opponent in awhile, and they’re doing it with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson’s point totals remaining in single-digits.

11:23 – JR Smith knocks down a three, his first bucket of the night, and it’s enough to cause the Warriors to call a time out. They’ve still got a nice lead, with the score Golden State 96, Cleveland 82 with 4:43 left in the game.

11:29 – Klay Thompson knocks down a three, inspiring Mike Breen to say, “BANG!” Ugh. I’ll take a Marv Albert “YES!” over a Mike Breen “BANG!” any day. More importantly, Klay’s three makes the score Golden State 104, Cleveland 87 with 2:24 left in the game.

11:31 – Back from the time out, the Cavs have the likes of Timofey Mozgov, Dahntay Jones, Mo Williams and James Jones on the floor, otherwise known as the White Flag Lineup. This one’s over.

11:32 – The Warriors call a quick time out to get the rest of their starters out of the game with Game 1 very much in hand.

11:35 – Game 1 comes to an end with a final score of Golden State 104, Cleveland 89.

Seven Warriors scored in double-figured, led by Shaun Livingston off the bench, who scored 20 on 8-10 shooting. Draymond Green filled up the box score with 16 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combined for just 20 points on 8-28 shooting, and the Warriors still won by 15 points. That’s a horrible sign for the Cavs chances in this series, and I’m already regretting our prediction of a seven game series.

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Kyrie Irving led the Cavs with 26 points, and LeBron James nearly had a triple-double, finishing with 23 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists. Kevin Love scored 17 and grabbed 13 boards, and Tristan Thompson contributed 10 points and 12 rebounds. Save for an exciting stretch of the third quarter, the Cavs did not play very aggressively tonight, and they let the game get away from them after fighting back for a small lead. Going forward, they can look at that third quarter for hope, but after tonight, their shot at winning seems to have taken a huge hit.

It’s been easy lately to be tired of the Warriors, but tonight reminded us of how fun they are to watch. After the Cavs took a couple of leads in the third, they went on the warpath and buried Cleveland, and it was a lot of fun to watch. There’s nothing quite like seeing the Warriors when they’re performing at their peak.

That does it for Game 1. Golden State couldn’t have asked for a better start to the Finals, while the Cavs have a lot of work to do if they’re going to recover from tonight’s unfortunate loss. We’ll have to wait until Sunday night to find out, and you’ll have to wait until Monday morning to read all about it here, so until then, have a fantastic weekend, and keep enjoying the Finals!

Author: tomeagher

Watching too much basketball.

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