Basketball

Can Cleveland rebound? National media reacts to Game 1 of the NBA Finals

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry reacts after scoring against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half of Game 1 of basketball's NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, June 1, 2017.
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry reacts after scoring against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half of Game 1 of basketball's NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, June 1, 2017. AP

If the first game of the NBA Finals is any indication of how the rest of the series will go, this one could be over quickly.

The Golden State Warriors handed the Cleveland Cavaliers a 113-91 loss in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night, which led national columnists to praise the Warriors as “unstoppable” and lament the multitude of mistakes the Cavs committed.

The Sacramento Bee’s Ailene Voisin said the Warriors are capable of repeating Thursday’s performance in Game 2 before the series heads to Cleveland for Games 3 and 4 next week. She also said a healthy Kevin Durant and Steph Curry, who combined for 64 points on Thursday, make up for the fact that ailing Warriors coach Steve Kerr is unable to coach from the sideline.

Here’s a sampling of other reactions to the results of Game 1:

Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding wonders if the Cavaliers’ offense can be successful against the Warriors: “For the high individual usage type of offense Cleveland runs with James and Kyrie Irving to work against a defense as good at overloading against the ball-handler as Golden State's, there has to be tremendous execution. In shooting 34.9 percent as a team with 20 turnovers, there clearly wasn't in Game 1.”

The Mercury News’ Mark Purdy raved about Durant’s contributions on Thursday: “If you watched, then you know that Durant was quite beautiful on the court himself and made it look very easy, scoring 38 points in the Warriors’ 113-91 victory over Cleveland’s Cavaliers. One game does not show that Durant has become the world’s best player. LeBron James will have something to say about that over the next two weeks. But one game did allow Durant to not only show the Warriors how to beat the Cavaliers in these 2017 NBA Finals, but also shows the Dubs how they should have beat the Cavs last year.”

Vice Sports’ Michael Pina thinks the X-factor in the series is not Curry or Durant, but LeBron James’ energy level: “James' ceiling is Cleveland's ceiling, and the only limit to both is his energy level. In order for him to be successful in this series, the tempo can't resemble a ping-pong match like it did on Thursday night.”

The New York Times’ Harvey Araton saw the Warriors’ defense as an ominous sign for the Cavaliers: “Unlike the Cavaliers, the Warriors played defense on Thursday, Impassioned defense. Switching, swarming and, at times, suffocating defense.”

The Washington Post’s Tim Bontemps said the Cavaliers won’t be able to beat the Warriors just by being more physical and slowing the game down: “But with the roster the Cavaliers have put together over the last year, they don’t look like a team capable of winning games by grinding their opponent into submission, like they had so much success doing as last year’s Finals went on. Instead, they now feel like a group equipped to try to take down the Warriors in a shootout, rather than knock them out in a slugfest.”

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