A lot went wrong for the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1. Kevin Durant had a lot of open dunks and the Cavs had no good option to defend him. Stephen Curry did Stephen Curry things, something he didn’t do last year. And Draymond Green playing defensive quarterback helped contain Cleveland’s normal potent attack.
A lot of the worst moments, though, weren’t in the Cavs control. Which is a major problem. But the Cavs also turned the ball over 20 times, up from 12.9 turnovers per game they averaged in the first three rounds of the playoffs. Golden State took advantage, too, and scored 21 points off Cleveland’s miscues.
And this wasn’t a role player problem or even a Kyrie Irving problem. Eight of the Cavs’ turnovers came from LeBron James, including six in the second quarter when the game got away from the Cavs and LeBron lead bench-heavy units for a large chunk of the quarter.
Take this one from late in the second quarter. The Cavs were already down at this point and needed a moment to build on. So, when a mismatch presented itself when Curry got switched onto Kevin Love, LeBron tried to set it up. He just did it in non-LeBron fashion:
For starters, LeBron threw the pass before Love had set up position against Curry. Secondly, LeBron seemed to just ignore Green’s presence. Green, having moved off Tristan Thompson when he saw Love working to post up Curry, jumped into the passing lane the moment the ball left James’ hand. In a split second, Green is pushing the ball up the floor and Warriors are at their most dangerous.
LeBron is so often better than this. He will make mistakes, sure, but ones like this can be avoided. For the Cavs to win Game 2, and even up the series, they’ll need to be.