In part two of our new feature — “Stadium Series” — TheSportsDrop visited Oracle Arena in Oakland to see the Warriors host the Cavs in Game 1 of the NBA Finals! While the first three rounds of this year’s NBA playoffs were mostly uneventful (and boring), Game 1 of the NBA Finals did NOT disappoint (unless maybe you’re a Cavs fan). Here’s our game recap, along with our feelings on the ballpark itself. Enjoy!
It’s incredible to see the difference one guy can make.. when that guy is the second best basketball player on the planet. In the Warriors 113-91 rout of the Cavs, Kevin Durant finished with 38 points, 8 assists, and 9 rebounds. And oh yeah, he had ZERO turnovers. Durant was dominant from start to finish, playing one of the most efficient games in Finals history. Playing the Robin to Durant’s Batman, two-time MVP Steph Curry finished with 28 points, 10 assists, and 6 rebounds. Curry was nearly as efficient as Durant, hitting on 50% of his 22 field goal attempts, and only turning the ball over twice. Durant and Curry carried the Warriors offensively, in a game that saw Draymond Green and Klay Thompson shoot a combined 6 of 28 (21%) from the field.
For the Cavs, there were some positive takeaways from Game 1. Although he didn’t shoot particularly well (4 for 13), Kevin Love managed to dominate the glass, grabbing 21 rebounds in his 34 minutes of action. If the Cavs are going to have any chance of beating the Warriors, Love will need to dominate the glass. LeBron and Kyrie combined for 52 points, but they also struggled with turnovers, committing a combined 12 for the game. Hustleman Tristan Thompson was a complete non factor. In his 22 minutes, Thompson scored ZERO points, grabbed four rebounds, and committed two fouls. The Cavs will need a much bigger contribution from Thompson if they plan to keep him on the floor and resist the urge to play small ball.
Game 1 of the Finals was almost exactly what we thought it was going to be. Durant and Curry were incredibly efficient and effective on the offensive end, and on the defensive end, the depth of the Warriors proved to be too much for the Cavs and their isolation offense. When all the media narratives surrounded the Dubs are about their historic offense, it’s easy to forget just how good they are defensively (Cleveland shot 34.9% from the field and turned the ball over 20 times). According to defensive metrics, they aren’t just “good” — they are one of the best defenses in NBA history. LeBron and the Cavs have their work cut out for them in the rest of this series. Most analysts, and Vegas sports books, predicted Warriors in 5… After tonight, that looks like a smart bet.
Thank God for the awesome Bay Area fans … because without them, attending a game at Oracle would be a really sad experience. The arena is old, outdated, and has little to no character. It will be an adjustment to see the Dubs move from Oakland to San Fran, but an upgraded arena is much needed. The sports complex is going to be abandoned when the Dubs and the Raiders move on to greener pastures — leaving the A’s as the only team standing. Here’s a link for more info on the Warriors new home.
We hope you enjoyed the second installment of our “Stadium Series” — please provide feedback in the comment section. Let us know how you liked this piece and feel free to suggest any ballparks, stadiums, arenas you think we should visit next! Also, part III of the series will be available soon. We’re going to an Oakland A’s game while we’re in town!