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LeBron says stopping Warriors' Durant will be tough

03 Juin 2017

Cleveland has lost the opener in the Finals to Golden State for three straight years but did rally to win the championship in seven games last year.

Golden State Warriors' Klay Thompson defends against Cleveland Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving in the first quarter during Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena on Thursday, June 1, 2017 in Oakland, Calif.

In what had to be a shock to most everyone inside Oracle Arena, the Cleveland Cavaliers forgot all that in Thursday's Game 1 of the Finals.

He was the best player on the floor in Game 1 by a wide margin, outdueling LeBron, who finished with 28 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists but had eight turnovers in 40 minutes and was a -22 on the floor.

"We've got to stop the ball first, then fan out to the three-point line".

And Stephen Curry got loose for a series of pull-up 3-pointers when Golden State took charge in the third quarter. They scored 21 points off 20 Cavaliers turnovers while making only 4 giveaways, tying the fewest by any team in any NBA Finals game. It is what it is.

"But that's what stands out".

The turnovers were an issue all night, with James committing eight of them. It was the worst of those seven Game 1 losses (the previous worst was 15-point defeats in 2016 at Golden State and 2014 at San Antonio).

Look out for the Bajan singer becoming the game one MVP towards the bottom right corner of the screen. That's huge for us.

"Our first half was sloppy on the offensive end, we were missing a lot of lay-ups", said Curry. To have a game like that when he's playing that way, it's tough to beat.

"I think it's part of the reason people enjoy watching us play".

LeBron James bit on a pump fake and got no help as Kevin Durant drove to the basket for one of his several uncontested dunks. But for them to have a realistic chance, he may also need Durant to play worse, and after making a decision that brought upon him the scorn of the sports world, Durant shows no sign of letting up, nor do any of the Warriors after their 3-1 catastrophe a year ago. "Just play as hard as you can and follow the game plan". "I'm cool. Have fun with that".

Durant provided a conundrum for Cleveland's defense. The Cavs became the first team to come back from a 3-1 series deficit in the finals, and James reminded everyone that he was the greatest athlete in all sports today.

"They constantly break records - last year being 73-9 [a regular season record]; this year starting the playoffs 13-0".

So, the burning question Lue must answer: what can the Cavaliers do defensively instead?

Durant had 23 points and six assists in the first half, outdueling LeBron James, who had 19 points, 11 rebounds and the highlight of the half: a poster dunk over JaVale McGee.

"Kevin's a competitor", Green said. All these years later, the talk isn't about LeBron taking a shortcut. "And I expect nothing less out of him, being the competitor that he is".

The Cavs have been here before, facing an uphill climb against the Warriors in the Finals.

But that didn't stop Golden State - after some tense moments early in the game - from controlling this game nearly from start to finish, slowly but surely extending its lead as the game progressed and taking advantage of a listless defensive performance by Cleveland to land the first blow in this clash of heavyweights meeting in the Finals for the third consecutive season.

LeBron says stopping Warriors' Durant will be tough