Bay Area News Group columnists Tim Kawakami and Marcus Thompson II break down the Warriors’ thrilling overtime victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers Thursday night in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
In case you have missed any of our around-the-clock Warriors-Cavaliers coverage, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a roundup of the latest and greatest on the cusp of Thursday night’s Game 1:
Here’s some of what is being said in Cleveland and elsewhere around the country as Game 1 approaches:
Can’t get enough of the NBA Finals? You’ve come to the right place.
We’ll keep you updated on what others are writing and saying about the Warriors and Cavaliers as they battle for the Larry O’Brien Trophy beginning on Thursday in Oakland.
In case you missed it, here is a roundup of our latest NBA Finals stories:
Here are a few stories produced by the Cleveland-area press corps as well as some national stories focusing on the Cavaliers:
* Did you know that both LeBron James and Stephen Curry were born in the same Akron, Ohio hospital, 36 months apart?: Here are their birth certificates to prove it.
* Watch out, Warriors. LeBron says he’s playing the best basketball of his career: Is LeBron now unstoppable?
* Cavaliers coach David Blatt actually agreed to become a Warriors assistant coach before the season. Then the Cavaliers came calling. Blatt thanks Steve Kerr for letting him out of his deal.
* Matthew Dellavedova from Saint Mary’s loves to mix it up, says teammate Kyrie Irving: “When he first came, there was almost a fist fight every day in practice … It’s just that Australian blood” Watch: Irving talking about the scrappy Dellavedova
* If there’s one area where LeBron James is struggling it’s from beyond the arc. What can be done about LeBron’s long-distance woes?
* How bad of a season has it been for the Cavs’ Kevin Love? He’s out for the season, but it didn’t stop Love from re-aggravating his shoulder injury.
* A cynic might call it a helluva lie, but LeBron James says rookie Cavs coach David Blatt has had a helluva season.
The NBA unveiled the special jerseys to be worn by the ten teams playing on Christmas Day. They are short-sleeved and feature an enlarged team logo on the front.
Yes, the Warriors’ are yellow.
Despite the bad reviews from last year, which no doubt promoted the switch to the white sleeved jerseys this year, adidas put the Warriors back in yellow. But they won’t be alone.
“They’re cool,” point guard Stephen Curry said. “It’s nice to be playing on Christmas Day to showcase them off. Like I’ve said, as long as we shoot well and get the win, they look good.”
The Clippers, Lakers, Bulls, Heat, Thunder, Knicks, Nets, Rockets and Spurs will also join the sleeved-jersey gang.
Here are looks at the rest of them, plus the commercial featuring Stephen Curry (I like Brooklyn’s the most, hands down.)
The Warriors don’t like the Clippers. And they were mad at themselves for not bringing their best against bullies from down south, losing 126-115 at Staples Center.
“We had no business in this game,” coach Mark Jackson said. “But we fought. We battled. We hung in there. We just couldn’t get over the hump.”
The Warriors turned the ball over 25 times, something they knew was a no-no against the transition savvy Clippers. Their miscues, including a career-high 11 by Curry, helped the Clippers rack up 22 fast-break points.
The Warriors were beat down the glass, had a tough time staying attached to the Clippers’ shooters and had zero answer for Chris Paul. He torched the Warriors for 42 points, 15 assists and six steals in 37 minutes.
Yet, with six minutes left in the fourth quarter, Golden State was down just eight. Victory was close enough to smell, and not grabbing it left a bitter taste.
“Certain teams kind of have that edge about them, for whatever reason,” Andre Iguodala said. “They’re kind of one of those teams. Even playing in Denver last year, it was the same chippiness. So we kind of have to be smart about it. Neither team has really done anything for it to really be a rivalry. Somebody has to establish something. So we’ve got to stay focused on the path ahead.”
More on Thursday’s game …
After all the preseason hype, all the talk of high expectations, many presumed the Warriors to come out and struggled. Especially after the Lakers thumped the much-ballyhooed Clippers on opening night, a let down wouldn’t have been surprising.
But that didn’t come close to happening Wednesday night.
The Warriors, instead, made an emphatic statement, beating the Lakers125-94 at Oracle on Wednesday. Was the statement that Golden State is for real? Or was it that the Kobe Bryant-less Lakers are really bad?
Perhaps it’s too early to answer that definitively. But it certainly looked different.
These Warriors smelled blood and pounced. They went for the jugular of a vulnerable team — playing without Steve Nash on the second night of a back-to-back — like you’d expect from a legit contender.
Maybe it was the energy of the season opener. Or maybe they fed off the passion in the arena whenever the Lakers come to town. Or maybe this is just who they are.
“We understand we’re going to have to have a lot of energy at home,” Andre Iguodala said. “I’ve been in a situation where I’ve won a lot of home games. (Last year with Denver, we) had the best home record in the NBA. Still, you’ve got to take care of business on the road. Energy gets you wins at home, but its how you go on the road, compete against the top-tier teams.”
The Warriors will have a chance to do that tonight against the host Los Angeles Clippers.
Before then, here’s the season debut of the game rewind …
No, I’m not in China. But I did watch the Warriors’ 100-95 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in Beijing on Tuesday. As far as the Warriors are concerned, it’s already fair to call the trip to China can be considered a success if only for reason: it got David Lee going.
For the first time this preseason, Lee looked like the All-Star he is. Part of it was the matador defense of Los Angeles Lakers’ Pau Gasol. But most of it was the liveliness of Lee. He was simply quicker and more explosive than his Lakers front-court counterparts, and he had various elements of his game was clicking.
That’s a vital step for the Warriors to round into form as the regular season news. They have hardly looked like the team expected to be a force in the Western Conference. But you could see some signs that’s starting to happen.
Lee had 31 points on 12 of 16 shooting in the first of two games against the Lakers in China. Lee made his first seven shots – four layups, two jumpers and a turn-around out of the post – en route to 22 first-half points.