OAKLAND, Calif. — Two groups nonetheless a bit dizzy within the aftermath of one of the wonderful finishes in NBA Finals historical past will tip off Sport 2 on Sunday evening when the Cleveland Cavaliers try to even their best-of-seven in opposition to the Golden State Warriors.
A 51-point efficiency, a late video-review reversal, a missed potential game-winning free throw, a head-scratching determination to expire the clock with the core tied and a one-sided additional time highlighted Thursday’s collection opener, which Golden State captured 124-114 to go up 1-Zero in opposition to the Cavaliers for the third consecutive season.
The win may need been a pricey one for the Warriors, nonetheless, with standout guard Klay Thompson having suffered what’s now being known as a excessive left ankle sprain.
Thompson returned from the first-quarter run-in with J.R. Smith to play 45 minutes in Sport 1, contributing 5 Three-pointers and 24 factors to the win, however acknowledged within the two days between video games that his leg was not 100 p.c.
He’s anticipated to play, though the Warriors listing him as questionable.
That is extra encouraging than the “uncertain” tag they’ve as soon as once more utilized to Andre Iguodala, whose absence was felt on the defensive finish in Sport 1.
That is the place LeBron James exploded for 51 factors, turning into the sixth participant in NBA historical past to go for 50 or extra in an NBA Finals sport.
However they got here in a loss, one thing coach Tyronn Lue insisted Saturday his workforce has put within the rear-view mirror.
“From watching movie and simply displaying some guys the place we are able to get higher, all the fellows are in an ideal spot proper now and in an ideal place,” he assured. “All of them really feel good, so we’re able to go for Sport 2.”
The Warriors noticed the Cavaliers bounce again from an additional time loss in Sport 1 within the 2015 Finals to tug out an additional time victory in Sport 2. Golden State went on to win that collection in six video games.
However the subsequent season, because the defending champion, the Warriors witnessed James & Co. flip a foul scenario into an excellent one when the Cavaliers received the ultimate three video games getting ready to elimination to seize the championship.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr did not see any white-flag-waving after Sport 1.
“They could have been deflated (down Three-1 in 2016), and so they got here again and received. So we’re anticipating one other nice effort from them,” he mentioned.
“We have been by way of this too many occasions. It is one sport. The collection modifications with every sport. All we have completed is win one.”
Every workforce had a degree of emphasis within the wake of Sport 1.
The Warriors acquired all three of their massive weapons going offensively, with Stephen Curry (29), Kevin Durant (26) and Thompson (24) combining for 79 factors. Golden State shot 51.1 p.c within the sport and outscored Cleveland 39-30 on Three-pointers regardless of taking pictures one fewer.
The Cavaliers, in the meantime, dominated the boards, outrebounding the Warriors 53-38. They turned 19 offensive rebounds into 21 second-chance factors, outscoring Golden State by 11 factors in that space.