Article Written By: Steve Dooley IV
Cavs vs Warriors Game 1 Both teams have been locked in on this rematch for a year now. Golden St. has been on a furious tear this season to prove last year’s triumph was legit. Cleveland on the other hand has confidence that missing players from the 2015 Finals along with the addition of Channing Frye and experience of last year’s defeat is enough to get over the hump.
There are so many numbers that can be thrown around to put this matchup in context but there only one way to truly break down this bout…Steph vs Bron, Klay vs Kyrie and Dray vs Kev. Those pairings are the notableones but Barnes vs Frye in point production will determine which club will dictate tempo.
Pace is going to be the determining factor in this series. Cleveland has played at the third slowest pace in the NBA during the Regular Season and Playoffs while the Warriors lead the Playoffs in pace and was second in Regular Season games.
Harrison Barnes is the key to this whole series. Barnes should come off the bench so he can be fresh against the Cavs bench and would be the second scoring option everytime he’s on the floor for the first 3 quarters. During the fourth however he should then join the “Death lineup”(Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green)as usual.
This way I don’t see Cleveland able to counter. LeBron and company have improved their roster and coaching since the two teams last
Finals tilt. Tyronn Lue has been great for Cleveland. He has taken control of the club and has 27-14 Regular Season finishing mark with a 12-2 Playoff record. Lue has improved the Cavs offensive rating and 3-point shooting but not the pace he was so focused on. Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith’s play will be pivotal because even with the Cavaliers making 14 3’s a game in the playoffs, Cleveland’s best chance to win is to play slow and go inside.
The keys to victory are simple for GoldenState: Ball movement, insert Iguodala to help slow Lebron early, Shoot the 3 ball, play as fast as possible and Barnes score atleast 15 points a game. The keys to victory for Cleveland: Protect the ball, Dunk as often as they can, Rebound like crazy, shoot a great percentage from
three but don’t shoot them unless their wide open because LeBron to the rack will happen but they all need to live in the paint to get best shots available.
The Cavs have to shoot close to 50% to have a chance to win. I truly believe we are in for a legendary series but a short one. I think the games will be close but whoever has the edge in closing out games won’t waste time with the other.
Lebron will not lose a lead to Golden State again if the Cavs get up early in the series but the Warriors are not about going down early after what they just accomplished against OKC. Neither team will be able to make many adjustments because they know each other too well. The winner will be tested every night of the Finals but whoever is better early will find a way to win most of the close games each time down the stretch.
As a result I believe Warriors win tonight
103-94 and the whole thing will end in 5…WARRIORS 4-1…enjoy