Two of the league's hottest teams got together Thursday night for a possible Finals preview, and they did not disappoint. The Warriors have shown that they belong in the championship discussion since the beginning of the year and tonight the Cavaliers showed that they too deserve to be taken seriously.
The game got off at a breakneck pace with both teams exchanging blows like prize-fighters. Both teams came out with a sense of purpose and were hungry to put on a show and hunt for the best possible shot. LeBron James proved once again to be the catalyst for the Cavaliers. His effort on both ends of the court proved to be infectious and helped power the team to an impressive win over the league leading Golden State Warriors.
The score remained tight throughout the first half until the Cavaliers turned it on in the third quarter and were able to stretch the lead out into double digits. They managed to hold the Splash Brothers in check and coax Klay Thompson into an off night by applying constant pressure off ball and making him work on defense.
While the Warriors did make small pushes throughout the second half, they were unable to mount a significant enough comeback in order to actually put the outcome in question. If this does materialize as the Finals match up, there's no question that it would be a treat for anybody that enjoys basketball.
Thoughts from the game:
- There is still nothing in basketball more unstoppable than LeBron James driving to the basket. He causes so much havoc when he attacks the rim and it takes a team effort to try and take that away from him. Between the pressure he applies, the vision he has as a passer and the spacing the rest of the Cavs provide, the offense is a million times more appealing and effective than it was at the beginning of the year.
- A runner-up to the unstoppable LeBron drive would have to be the shooting ability of Steph Curry. He is an absolute terror with and without the ball and deserves all the MVP consideration he has received up to this point. His ability to probe the defense and create for himself and others is fantastic.
- This game was a prime example of great offense overcoming great defense. Both teams did a great job trying to account for all the weapons the other team features, but the ball movement and incredible shot making was just too much for either team to contain.
- Kendrick Perkins had a lot of trouble in the first half. I don't really want to see him in the game unless there is foul trouble to contend with or it's a blowout. The fact he tried to post up in a game with this much offensive talent offended me and it'll take some time for me to come to terms with it.
- Kevin Love is doing a good job at getting in position to take a charge/in a driving player's way. He seems to accept the fact that he isn't going to be Serge Ibaka and is having an impact by getting in position to disrupt the drive. He caused several misses at the rim by Klay Thompson and other Warriors players by forcing them to adjust prior to taking off.
- It was a quiet night for Kyrie Irving. While he finished with twenty four points, he did not shoot particularly well and dinged up his left shoulder. He only had one assist, but he did a great job keeping the ball moving on the perimeter and generally made good decisions. All of the Cavs guards played selflessly on the night and it was evident in how few possessions felt stagnant.