OAKLAND, Calif. (Diya TV) — This is why they play the games.
Game 1 of the NBA Finals did not go as predicted. The Warriors and Cavaliers are meeting once again in the Finals, the first time the same two teams have battled for a championship in four straight years in any of the major American sports leagues. This time, the Warriors are heavily favored to win their 3rd championship in that span. Yet the Cavaliers showed why they were able to overcome the odds and win the Eastern Conference once again.
This year’s edition has a different feel to it, as Kyrie Irving and Andre Iguodala are not featured. Irving was traded to the Celtics by the Cavs in the offseason and Iguodala continues to cope with a knee injury suffered in the Western Conference Finals.
As a result, both teams are adjusting to one another. The Warriors played with an altered small ball lineup. The original had Kevin Durant at small forward, Andre Iguodala at power forward, Draymond Green at center, Stephen Curry at point guard, and Klay Thompson as shooting guard. In the alternative lineup, Durant, Curry, and Thompson did not switch positions. However, Draymond Green acted as a power forward and Kevon Looney as the center.
Both teams felt each other out in the first half, with game tied at 56 at the break after a tremendous long distance three by Stephen Curry to close out the first 24 minutes of action.
The teams were tied seventeen times in this tug-a-war like game, with the Warriors finally breaking away in overtime to win 124-114.
For the Cavaliers, LeBron James scored a playoff career-high 51 points. He got off to a strong start in the first half, with around 24 points, and did not stop in the second half and overtime either.
The Cavaliers had the lead for most of the first half. It got as high as 11 points, but the Warriors were able to reel it in and tie at 56 at half time. The Warriors are known for their 3rd Quarter comebacks, and that continued in Game 1. But the Cavaliers came back in the 4th Quarter.
The Cavaliers were dominant on the boards, especially on the offensive glass. They had nineteen total compared to the Warriors’ four. At the end of the fourth quarter, they drew fouls and were able to push the game into overtime. George Hill missed a game-winning free throw, one that would have locked Game 1 in place for the Cavaliers.
After that, a misunderstanding prevented the Cavaliers from a chance at winning once again. According to Tyronn Lue, J.R. Smith misread the score and thought the Cavaliers were leading by one and therefore dribbled behind the 3-point line.
However, J.R. Smith said that he was expecting a timeout to be called, and did not misread the score at all. LeBron’s reaction to this lead to new memes and other viral cartoons. J.R. Smith commented, “No, I knew we were tied. It’s just, I thought we were going to take a timeout because I got the rebound. I’m pretty sure everybody didn’t think I was going to shoot it over KD right there. … I mean, I saw KD standing right next to me. He already had, what, four blocks? So I wasn’t trying to be the fifth.”
The Warriors dodged a major Klay Thompson injury after J.R. Smith rolling over him in the first quarter. According to Thompson, it’s a minor strained muscle and he’ll be fine for Game 2. After returning in the second quarter, Klay Thompson played for 45 minutes and scored 24 points.
At the end of the game, Tristan Thompson was ejected after losing his temper. With 5 seconds left in the game, Shaun Livingston took a mid-range shot, only to be fouled by Tristan Thompson. Confusion arose as some were not sure if it was a serious foul. However, Tristan Thompson lost his temper.
When asked about it, he said that it is an unwritten rule that if you are leading by more than 8-10 points, you don’t take a shot close to the buzzer. Livingston didn’t follow it, and that was unfair. Steve Kerr said that he encourages his players to never try to get a 24-second violation. After the call, there was a lot of reviewing to know if suspensions should be given, but both squads will have their full complement of players minus Iguodala for Game 2.
All in all, Game 1 was better than expected.
To move forward, a little post game assesment is needed.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr’s assessment? “Lucky.”
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue’s assessment? “Robbed.”
James wants the Cavs to put it behind them.
“We’ve got to move on,” James said. “This game is over and done with.”
“The Finals, man, anything is liable to happen,” Curry said.
There was a lot of talk about how this series would be a sweep for the Warriors, but with 51 points and if not for the JR Smith gaffe, Lebron James has shown that he isn’t going to let the Warriors breeze through. The Warriors however are well aware of this, they know its going to be a fight.
Both teams are prepared and ready for the next battle. Game 2 tips off on Sunday at 5PM Pacific.
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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