Thirty eight big points… That is the big difference that Kevin Durant brought into the table for the Golden State Warriors as they thrashed the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers in Game one of the NBA Finals 113-91.
The do-it-all forward was just unstoppable shooting 14-16 from the field, 3-6 from the 3-point line and 7-8 from the stripe. He also snared 8 rebounds and dished out 8 assists in 38 minutes of play.
Durant proved to be the X-factor at least in this game for the Warriors who are now 13-0 in this year’s playoffs. Supporting his gargantuan effort is Steph Curry chipping in his norm of 28 points shooting effectively from the field with his 11-22 FG shooting 6-11 from way beyond.
Durant’s showing in the playoffs for the Golden State Warriors gives sense to his sensational and highly criticized transfer from the Oklahoma Thunder to California.
First, Durant gives the Warriors an additional scorer who has a versatile arsenal. KD is the ultimate mismatch nightmare for coaches. He is tall and lanky who capitalizes on his size in posting up smaller defenders and uses his speed and shooting in beating taller and slower defenders.
Second, Stephen Curry can concentrate doing his thing shooting the lights out of the coliseum because at the back of his mind he has an insurance policy in KD. Unlike in last year’s finals where the Dubs struggled after Curry was continuously bullied by Kyrie Irving in defense thus disrupting the over-all offensive performance of the Warrior, this year proved to be different with KD around. The Warriors just found a legit go-to-guy in the person of KD who stabilizes everything for them especially against an-equally loaded squad like the Cavs.
Terribly missing for the Warriors in game 1 was Klay Thompson who is continuously in a slump scoring only 6 points with 0-6 from beyond the arc.
Cleveland’s 20 turnovers translated to 21 Golden State points. Tristan Thompson was terribly missed and went scoreless for the game and just grabbed 4 rebounds. Kevin Love did grab 21 rebounds but most of it was from the defensive end (16) and only 5 from his comfort zone which is the offensive boards. Like what I said in my previous commentaries, Kevin Love fell in love too much with the three point shot which took him away from being effective in helping Tristan Thompson in doing the damage inside on both ends of the court.
Lebron James had his norm of 28 points but was not enough as his teammates struggled in matching the fire power of the Warriors. Who will make a difference for the Cavs in game 2? Will KD continue to torch the Cavs on his way to his first title? These questions will be answered as the drama of the NBA Finals continues in game 2, June 5 Manila Time.