The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors played just two games against each other this season. The first was a barnburner on Christmas Day, with the Cavaliers coming out on top, 109-108. The second was an absolute blowout just a few weeks later.
There are many factors that played into those games, and indeed that will play into the 2017 NBA Finals. One of the most important ones will be who controls the glass, particularly when it comes to offensive rebounding. The Christmas game between these two teams saw a 2-to-1 advantage for Cleveland in offensive rebounding percentage. That figure was reversed in favor of the Warriors in January.
The biggest disparity seemed to be the play of Kevin Love, who was flying around everywhere for Cleveland in December but who played just 16 minutes during the second matchup.
While Love’s numbers weren’t impressive in either instance, he changed the game for his teammates — including the steadfast Tristan Thompson — in Game 1. His absence was felt in Game 2, when he did not crash the boards hard or make it more difficult for Warriors big men to get to the basketball.
I think Love’s play on the glass could be a major factor in how the series plays out. Watch the full breakdown above to see the full tape.