Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, California
OAKLAND – The Cleveland Cavaliers got two days off to digest the mistakes made down the stretch that allowed the Golden State Warriors to escape with a win in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals and put it behind them. The Cavaliers will get another chance to steal homecourt advantage when they visit the Warriors for Game 2 on Sunday.
Cleveland had a chance to take the lead at the end of regulation, but JR Smith dribbled out the clock instead of putting up a shot after securing an offensive rebound and the Cavaliers went on to suffer a 124-114 defeat in overtime to heavily-favored Golden State. “We lost a tough game. It’s over. It’s behind us,” Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue told reporters. “We did a lot of great things in that game, so we’ve got to carry it over. We’ve got to play better on Sunday. We’ve got to expect that they’re going to play better, so we have to play better on Sunday. I know we’re capable of doing that.” The Warriors were never publicly among those that thought the series would be a runaway victory and keeping their collective feet on the gas in Game 2 is a priority. “I know their goal is to come to Oracle and just get one (game),” Golden State guard Klay Thompson told reporters. “So, we have to have it in the back of our minds that we want to protect home court. And if we don’t take care of business Sunday, we obviously lose that advantage. Game 1 is over with. I do not expect them to still be deflated. I expect them to play with great energy out of the gate on Sunday.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ABC
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS: Cleveland superstar LeBron James turned in one of the great performances in NBA Finals history in Game 1 with 51 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, but he might have to play even better going forward. “I hope so,” Lue joked when asked if James could play any better. “I know that’s asking a lot. But we need him to lead by example, being aggressive, attacking the basket. We know they’re going to come and help. They’re a help team, and guys are going to get shots. If you don’t have a shot, you’ve got to put it on the floor and make another play. He did that last night, and he has to keep it up.” James could use more help on the offensive end after being joined in double figures by just Kevin Love (21 points) and Smith (10) in Game 1.
ABOUT THE WARRIORS: Golden State shot 51.1 percent from the floor and 95 percent from the free-throw line while committing just eight turnovers in Game 1 but was still pushed to overtime, in part because Cleveland dominated on the boards with 19 offensive rebounds. “The glaring weakness on film was our lack of aggression on the boards,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters. “That’s something we’ve got to clean up.” Stephen Curry led the offense with 29 points and nine assists while Draymond Green turned in a strong all-around performance with 13 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, five steals and a pair of blocks.
1. Warriors SF Andre Iguodala (knee) is doubtful for Game 2.
2. Love will not be suspended by the league for coming off the bench and stepping onto the floor during a skirmish at the end of overtime in Game 1.
3. Golden State SF Kevin Durant went 1-of-7 from 3-point range in Game 1 and is shooting 31.7 percent from beyond the arc in the postseason.