2015 NBA Finals: Coaches Perspective From Game 1 Between The Cavs-Warriors


The Cleveland Cavaliers ultimately fell short in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, here is what exactly went wrong in our coaches perspective 

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LeBron James scored 44 points, dished out six assists and snagged eight rebounds. Apart from a late overtime awkward fall, which seems to have derailed all the health progress that he had accumulated during the past week, Kyrie Irving looked awfully close to his old, pre-injury version of himself. Irving finished with 23 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four steals.

Still, all that wasn’t enough for the Cleveland Cavaliers to overcome the never-ending Golden State Warriors assault in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Despite controlling the better-part of Game 1, the Cavs are in a 1-0 series hole. Here are a few takeaways from Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Coaches Perspective of Game 1 of 2015 NBA Finals

* LeBron James came out early and set the tone for this entire series. Both teams are relatively green when it comes to the NBA Finals, so James was able to take advantage of the rest of the players on the court playing tight, tense and tentative. James scored 12 points while Golden State had only scored 13 points as a team. It helped Cleveland race out to a 26-13 lead to silence the rowdy fans at Oracle Arena. James finished with 44 points (which tied Shaquille O’Neal for most ever in a Game 1 of an NBA Finals loss).

* A scoring funk during the last two minutes of regulation and overtime cost Cleveland dearly. The Cavs only scored four points during that seven minute stretch of time while coughing up the ball four times. Cleveland went 1-13 from the field during that stretch. Golden State, meanwhile, scored 12 points and only had one turnover.

* Andrew Bogut was able to act like a free safety in this game because he was constantly roaming on the defensive end acting as a second defender and collapsing on Cleveland players who penetrated into the paint. Timofey Mozgov needs to be more active on the offensive end demanding touches to make Bogut be honest and prevent this from happening.

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  • * Tristan Thompson (once again) was huge cleaning the glass on the offfensive end. It may seem insignificant, but it directly resulted in six extra offensive possessions for Cleveland. That’s not even counting the tips that resulted in his teammates getting the offensive rebound. For a game that went into overtime, that hustle on the offensive end paid huge dividends for Cleveland. It also could have been the difference in the game if one of Cleveland’s two field goal attempts in the final seconds of regulation had gone in. Also worth noting is Golden State combined as a team for 11 offensive boards.

    * Andre Igoudala was huge off the bench. He hit a big three-pointer in the second half while missing a shoe that’s sure to become an internet meme. However, his biggest impact was on the defensive end guarding LeBron James. James was 2-of-12 against Iguodala when his shot was not directly preceded by a pass. James scored 11 points while being guarded by Iguodala, but he struggled to get those points as he went 4-14 from the field (28.6%). On the flip side, James was 12-22 from the field (54.5%) while being guarded by anyone else and scored 27 points.

    * Kyrie Irving had himself a game before he left after re-injuring his leg/foot. Leading into the game, a lot of pundits felt that Golden State had a huge advantage in the backcourt. Clearly Irving didn’t take to this too well. Irving had 23 points, seven rebounds and six dimes, and had potentially a game-saving block in the final 24.1 seconds of regulation on Curry. If he’s not able to play at a high level the rest of this series then Cleveland is likely toast.

    * Golden State started this game going 4-19 from the field and 1-5 from beyond the arc. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson went a combined 2-9 from the field in the first quarter. Curry regrouped in the second quarter in a big way as he was perfect from field and scored or assisted on 18 of the last 20 Warriors points.

    * According to NBA Stats: “LeBron had shot just 44/164 (26.8%) outside the paint this postseason entering tonight. 3/7 (42.9%) outside paint in 1stQ, incl. 1/2 from 3.”

    * Cavs went 7-17 from beyond the arc in the first half while Golden State went 4-14.

    * Draymond Green picked up his fourth foul with 2:45 left in the third quarter.

    * This was the eighth game in the NBA Finals where LeBron James has scored 30 or more points. The only player with more is Kobe Bryant (13).

    * Both teams combined for 58 three-point attempts which tied the record for second most in an NBA Finals game.

    Next: How one missed shot and an awkward fall might've changed the course of the NBA Finals