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NBA Finals Game 1: A Look Back

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NBA Finals Game 1: A look back

The highly awaited showdown of two most formidable teams – the Cavs and the Warriors – in the past three NBA seasons has finally come on the scene. Both teams cruise through their playoff journey to the Finals with awesome 24-1 records in postseason first three rounds. Will the Cavs reclaim their title or the Warriors get the revenge? The grand opening game 1 offered the viewers invaluable insights. While the spotlights shined on Kevin Durand and Stephen Curry, it is worth mentioning other key factors, which secured the Dubs’ first victory. These include mental toughness and confidence, the desire to win, as well as defense.

Mental toughness and confidence

The Dubs showed tenacious mental toughness in round 3 postseason game 1 vs. San Antonio, round 1 playoff game 3 against Portland, and regular season back-to-back games facing San Antonio on March 29. The Dubs pulled off impressive comebacks from 25-point, 16-point and 22-point deficits, respectively. Their new postseason win-loss records of 12-0 carry impregnable confidence into the Finals.

The Cavs demonstrated similar mental tenacity in round 1 postseason game 3 by beating the Pacers from a halftime 25-point deficit; meanwhile, they had blown a 21-point lead in a losing effort to the Celtics in Game 3 of Eastern Conference Finals. The loss would inadvertently impact their confidence level during the Finals. It reflected in LeBron James’ game 1performance. His leadership was hardly visible during the entire game with a miserable 8 turnovers.

The desire to win

The Dubs prepare entire year to set the stage for avenging their agonizing game 7 championship loss after blowing a comfortable 3-1 lead in last Finals. They are indubitably the hungrier club to have the upper hand in craving for another title.


The Warriors’ success relies more on their defense than offense because they are gifted with immense firepower. They developed fierce defense through relentless hustle play and physical toughness. The Dubs reduced the Cavs’ Field Goal % from first 3 round’s average of 50.7 to 34.9 in Finals game 1. They forced the Cavs to commit 20 turnovers, which were substantially higher than their first 3 round’s average of 12.9. Conversely, the Dubs had only 4 turnovers, which were considerably lower than their first 3 round’s average of 13.8. Two clubs’ defense discrepancy is well shown in game 1.

In last Finals, the Dubs played a lackluster game 3 with a humiliating loss to the Cavs 120-90. Had they taken the critical game 3, it could have been a Warriors’ four-game sweep instead of losing the title in Game 7. Since they have made significant improvement in all above three key factors this year, they are well poised to fulfill a sweet revenge, and yet, do not rule out the Cavs by just one game.

Game 1 would have been a competitive contest should they have 10 or less turnovers. Among the highlights, the Cavs had three favorable stats in rebounds 59-50, blocks 6-3, and FT% 80-69. Kevin Love collected 21 rebounds and 3 threes with 50% 3-point field goal. Kyrie Irving still had sharp cuts and impressive 3 threes with 75% 3-point field goal. James’ super-athleticism and near triple-double (28 points, 15 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 threes) solid outputs establish the corner stone for the team to prevail. In particular, James’ handshakes with his teammates after the game manifest his determination to fight on. It will be a thrilling series to watch on.


**Article provided by Hsin Hua, Victor, Wang, via**

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