OAKLAND, Calif. (Diya TV) — When the Warriors and Cavaliers faced off on Christmas Day this season, the matchup was the most highly anticipated game on the NBA’s schedule — Cleveland would be provided the opportunity to avenge their defeat at the hands of Golden State in last year’s NBA Finals. An opportunity squandered as the Warriors would emerge victorious against a complete Cavaliers squad.
Thursday night at Oracle Arena, Cleveland and Golden State once again faced off in the NBA Finals, with both teams showcasing full rosters this time around. The Cavaliers came away from Game 1 looking unprepared for the offensive onslaught of the Warriors bench, falling 104-89.
Golden State’s reserves outscored the Cavaliers’, 45-10.
Likely a byproduct of Cleveland head coach Tyronn Lue’s strategy to contain the offensive output of Stephen Curry.
“Everyone’s going to have a role trying to guard Curry. He’s a tough player and we know he makes this team go,” Lue said. “Everybody has to be locked in and focused on Steph.”
His strategy worked somewhat — Curry ended the night going 4 for 15 from the field with just 11 points. Fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson’s night wasn’t any better, finishing his Game 1 performance with nine points. The two combined to shoot 8-of-27.
However, Shaun Livingston showcased the playoff performance of his life, posting a career-playoff high 20 points during a 80 percent shooting performance. Last year’s Finals MVP Andre Iguodala added another 12, and Leandro Barbosa shot a perfect 5 for 5, collecting 11 points of his own. All three players came off the bench.
“Yeah, it’s all a feel. Just being aggressive when we’re out there,” Livington said about the bench play. “They (Curry and Thompson) command so much attention, especially Steph off the pick-and-roll, so we try to make ourselves available for him and be able to make plays and relieve pressure for him because all it takes is one shot to go in, we know that — same for Klay — and they get rolling fast.”
The MVP spoke on Livingston and the rest of the bench’s effort during his postgame interview.
“Whether it’s 45 points off the bench or just playing aggressive and continuing what we start. But tonight it was the opposite. They really changed the game, and it allowed us to win tonight.”
The always emotional Draymond Green emerged as the most efficient of the night’s starters, filling his stat line with 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.
“This team is prepared for this,” Lue had stated before the game. “I think they’re eager for it. Kevin and Kyrie not being a part of The Finals last year and they’re excited and anxious. So now that we’re here, we’re ready to perform.”
Kyrie Irving scored the game-high 26 points for the Cavaliers, Love added another 17 and collected 13 rebounds. Superstar LeBron James ended falling just one assist short of a triple-double, scoring 23 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
“When you get outscored 45-10 on the bench and give up 25 points off 17 turnovers, no matter what someone does or doesn’t do, it’s going to be hard to win, especially on the road,” said James. “And that’s what it was. Obviously the game ball goes to Shaun Livingston. Came in, gave them a huge spark.
“But don’t matter what you do with Steph and Klay, don’t matter what you do with Draymond. Give up 45 points off the bench and 25 points off turnovers on the road, it’s not a good ingredient to win.”
Cleveland turned over the ball 17 times in the contest, which directly resulted in 25 points for Golden State.
Game 2 between the two teams will tipoff Sunday at 5 p.m.
India Rising puts forth valiant effort in loss to Boeheim’s Army in TBT
SYRACUSE (Diya TV) — With The Basketball Tournament commencing, most eyes have been set on Boeheim’s Army and their path to repeating as champions. However, their first match provided an opponent true to its name: India Rising.
While one may look at the 90-62 score and disregard the India Rising squad, when watching the game, the team did truly give Boeheim’s Army a run for their money in the first half. Facing a team full of guys who played under one of the greatest basketball coaches ever, Jim Boeheim, India Rising jumped out to an early 5-0 lead and was able to keep pace with Boeheim’s Army for a substantial amount of time. Most people may have written them off early but they kept fighting. They had a clear cut goal to bring attention to basketball players of Indian descent by pulling off a cinderella win and carve a path for themselves. It is clear that they put in their full effort to try and realize those goals.
In the second half, Boeheim’s army was able to pull away but India Rising had made their message clear: Indian ballers should not be overlooked. The box score does not paint the real picture of how much heart, determination, and grit India Rising displayed to get more recognition. General manager Gautam Kapur and head coach Ajay Sharma have done an excellent job overseeing the initiative and giving the best Indian hoopers a chance to shine on a big stage.
In a 64 team tournament, India Rising stood out and gave a near-professional squad a tough time. For what this team set out to achieve, no heads should be hung low. India Rising should be getting the recognition they so rightfully deserve.
Warriors win Game 5 at home, now just one game away from the title
SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) —The Golden State Warriors are just one win away from their fourth title in eight years. The Dubs returned home and overpowered the Boston Celtics 104-94 to take a 3-2 series lead, even though Stephen Curry only scored 16. Infact, Curry did not make a single three, a first in the last 3.5 years. Andrew Wiggins on the other hand matched Tatum while scoring a team-high 26 points and added 13 rebounds, including the dagger dunk to finish off Boston.
Draymond Green saw glimpses of a turnaround game as he was very close to a triple double before fouling out for the 3rd time in this series. Klay Thompson made a great contribution on the offensive end with 21 points, on the third anniversary of his horrific injury in the finals against the Cavaliers in 2019 . The Warriors trio of Curry, Thompson and Green were able to cement themselves even further with their 20th Finals win together, the most of any trio over the past 30 years.
The Celtics saw franchise star Jayson Tatum have a better game scoring wise than the last game with a team-high 27 points. But while Tatum showed up for game 5, Jaylen Brown did not. When both of those players are on at the same time, the Celtics can light it up. However, there has been inconsistency from both throughout the Finals. The C’s will need both guys to be on for them to fend off the Dubs and force a Game 7.
The Warriors can close out the series and add a 7th ring to their collection with a win on Thursday in the hostile environment of TD Garden. A collective team effort would do the trick as in Game 4, Curry shouldered the load while the rest of his supporting cast did the same for him. The Celtics will look to put forth their best effort of the season in a final effort to keep their season alive. It could very well come down to if both Tatum and Brown can prove they can be a dynamic duo on the biggest stage.
Warriors seal Game 4 victory with an epic Steph Curry performance, tie series 2-2
BOSTON (Diya TV) — The Warriors, seal Game 4 victory with a vintage Stephen Curry performance, evened up the NBA Finals in an absolute thriller, winning 107-97.
The start of the game saw both teams match each other pound for pound with Boston ultimately taking the first quarter by a single point. There were notions before the game about Curry having a foot sprain, but he quickly laid those doubts to rest. He began to heat up in the first quarter (and talked some trash along the way). Conversely, Draymond Green continued his finals performance with more fouls than points. Robert Williams III showed off his skills as a rim protector on defense, which was a missing piece for the Celtics up until the point of Williams’ return. In the first half, Curry and Jayson Tatum battled against each other in classic star matchup fashion with Curry scoring 19 and Tatum going for 16. Tatum was money from beyond the arc (made 3 out of his 4 three-point attempts), just like he’s been all Finals as he’s been shooting 48% on 3’s.
The officiating in the first half was questionable, especially in the second quarter when Payton Pritchard clearly traveled and yet a foul was called instead. This set off Warriors HC Steve Kerr and his temper led to him getting a technical foul. For a non-call to be that egregious and then to double down by giving Kerr the technical foul is asinine and something that certainly sparked controversy. Attention was also brought to the Celtics free throw attempts versus the Warriors (15 and 5 respectively) even with both teams attacking the basket often. Despite this disparity, the Warriors were able to keep it within 5 at the end of the half.
More Curry magic continued in the second half with him carrying the team on his back, in essence. 43 points highlight the stat line but when watching the game, it was clear as day that he was really the only dependable source of scoring throughout the ballgame for the Dubs. With 7 threes made tonight, we saw the greatest shooter in league history go to work and will his team to victory. In the biggest stage of basketball, Curry made his mark once again.
The Celtics now face a daunting Game 5 heading to San Francisco. Winning both games on their home court would have all but sealed a championship for them. But now, the door has not only creaked, but swung wide open. The #1 defense in the NBA will gameplan to try and find answers for Curry. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will be facing a challenging environment in Chase Center, but one they are familiar with.
Meanwhile, the Warriors will look to capitalize off the momentum and adrenaline this win has given them. Off the heels of a classic performance, Curry will try to carry on his titanium-strong Finals MVP case. Draymond Green, coming back to friendly faces in San Francisco, will try to turn around an awful stretch. This series is shaping up to be a dramatic one with both teams trading blows. Game 5 should deliver more popcorn-worthy entertainment, especially if Stephen Curry is involved.
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