The Golden State Warriors are seemingly unstoppable. Golden State was the most efficient offensive and second-most efficient defensive team in the NBA this year, and they are a whole new monster facing the Cav’s, Lebron truly stole the series and made a seemingly impossible comeback. But the addition of Kevin Durant has made the Warriors too deep and too skilled for Lebron, Kyrie and company to deal with. When Steph isn’t even the number one guy to shoot the ball, the Cav’s are in trouble.
Although the Warriors finished with six fewer wins than last year’s team that set an NBA record with 73 regular-season victories, one can easily make the case that this year’s team is even better considering they added a top-five NBA player in Durant. His length, skill and ability to drive has made him another weapon on the Warriors roster.
As a team, the Warriors threw up 106 shots and only shot 42 percent as a team. These are not elite numbers and if the Warriors don’t shoot at 50% the rest of the series I would be shocked. They didn’t even shoot that well, and they weren’t truly tested in the score. The game honestly was never close after the first half, with Durant and Steph clearly slowing down, not driving and taking depth shots.
If you thought that Cleveland was playing bad, the numbers do not lie. They had 20 less shots as a team, and shot at a clip of 34%. These are awful numbers for any team. I wish I could say Lebron could play harder, or better, but the Warriors are simply too good. Lebron did everything. He played for 40 minutes, was aggressive and had about as good a game as Lebron would need in the regular season to win. He probably would have had a triple double, but the guys he was passing the ball to couldn’t find the basket. Its not Lebron that worries me, as his periphery players seem to be playing at their capacity.
Durant, Steph and Draymond are probably equal to Lebron, Kyrie and Kevin Love. If they all play their best, these guys basically cancel each other out on the court. That leaves Klay Thompson wide open for criticism after the last game. He shot 18%, and took 16 shots. If he shoots at even 30% the game is nowhere closer for Cleveland. The Warriors also capitalized 21 points off of turnovers. Don’t expect the turnovers to be as lopsided throughout the series, but holy cow hold onto the ball. The Warriors missed more wide open shots, and still won without stress.
The fact that people are talking about Kevin Durant and Bad Girl RiRi is just reiterating the fact that the real story is not the ball series, but any drama the media can find in it. At the beginning of the season you knew the Warriors were going to make the Finals. The regular season was simply extended practice to get to the playoffs. The only series that even offered any intrigue for the Warriors was against the Spurs. With the loss of Kawhi Leonard, it wasn’t even a series. If Pop couldn’t solve the Warriors for even a game, the Cav’s will be hard pressed to win a game. At this point people are asking whether Cleveland will even win a game in the series.
Golden State is also a massive -500 favorite to win the NBA Finals outright, while Cleveland is a big +350 underdog. If bettors are feeling lucky, they could potentially return $350 on a $100 investment if the Cavs come back and take the series.
I know people think Lebron and Cleveland have been here before, but the addition of Durant is too much. A Durant-less Warriors took Lebron to the brink last year, and he will be the tipping point in this series. My bet is Durant locks down Finals MVP by game 5.