Kevin Durant will be finals MVP.
Kevin Durant scored 38 points, Stephen Curry added 28 and the Golden State Warriors rolled to a 113-91 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. The Warriors, who fell in seven games in last year’s Finals, outscored the Cavalier 53-39 in the second half to extend their postseason win streak to 13 straight.
Kevin Durant is proving to be the most efficient player out on the court. Unless Lebron sticks to him the entire game, Durant offensively is a miss-match to any player on the Cav’s. He’s too long, and fluid in the paint and is willing to take those long, low percentage twos. This makes him extremely hard to guard, as the undersized forwards on the Cavs can’t take control of his game.
Vegas odds for Finals MVP.
|Kevin Durant – GSW||7/5|
|Stephen Curry – GSW||8/5|
|LeBron James – CLE||2/1|
|Draymond Green – GSW||17/2|
|Kyrie Irving – CLE||10/1|
|Kevin Love – CLE||15/1|
|Klay Thompson – GSW||25/1|
Durant’s likelihood at Finals MVP is not a response to his game last evening. The odds makers in Vegas believed him to be the problem the Cavs couldn’t solve. And he is proving them right. Last season, the Cav’s completed the greatest comeback in basketball. With Durant on the Warriors
The only way Durant won’t run roughshod over the Cavs is if Lebron plays 44 minutes of high intensity basketball. That just isn’t achievable. LeBron James carried Cleveland with 28 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists, but also logged eight turnovers. The Cavaliers had 20 turnovers as a team to just four for Golden State. Golden State simply needs to play not to lose.
They need to use smart basketball, rotate and rest their Big 3 (in Draymond, Chef and Durant) and keep the threes rolling. As a perimeter dominating team, those outside shots spread the Cav’s to the ends of the three point line. With minimal impact depth players on the Cav’s, their starters are liken to tire out and not take those extra steps towards the three point line. Tristan Thompson was held scoreless and to four boards, truly showing that no points will be handed out sparingly by the California defense. Cavaliers not named LeBron and Kyrie are 8-36 on FG’s tonight’. What was also noticed was Kyrie, Lebron and Kevin Love were being spread too far apart, and Durant capitalized.
He drove hard to the rim and had more space than Kevin Durant should have. But the Cavs can’t defend this without fouling him. He had six slams in the first half alone for the Warriors, setting the tone early.
Durant is too long, and too fast to guard properly in a drive, and will prove to be the difference maker this series. He is the piece that was missing in last years amazing season from the Warriors. They Cavs simply can’t guard him. There are not enough players on the court to guard Curry, Durant and Klay. Draymond is a wall on defense and needs to not get walked over. He could log zero shots so long as he is enforcing on those defensive rebounds and snags the occasional kickback to Curry or Durant.
Here is the metric from shots taken, and shots made, the full dots are shots made.
This isn’t a representation about how efficient Durant played, and how his game evolved through the quarters.
First Quarter –Durant is driving, and generating chances and fouls. He is penetrating the Cavs defense putting pressure on Thompson and Love early. Durant driving on Love early puts Love on a defensive run. He can’t generate those chances offensively if he is overly focused on Durant putting him on a poster.
The third quarter is a different story, Durant is sticking to the perimeter. He is nailing those shots and forcing Lebron to stick close to him. Durant’s length and step back are dangerous from long range, forcing Lebron into his dojo and leaving the paint. This allows the Warriors to step up and have a higher percentage of snagging offensive rebounds. The fourth is eerily similar where Durant isn’t forcing plays and picking his shots nicely. By going nowhere near the rim in the third and fourth allowed Curry, Green and the depth players to move the ball well and expose the defense.