Warriors expect Game 2 to get physical as Cavaliers try to take away easy baskets

3 Comments

OAKLAND — If a team gives Golden State a lot of easy buckets — say six dunks to Kevin Durant in the first half alone — they are doomed. Throw in a bunch of turnovers so the Warriors get out in transition, and the opposition is going to get routed.

Which is exactly what happened to Cleveland in Game 1.

It’s also why the Cavaliers think what went wrong in Game 1 is fixable.

“We need to focus on the things we can do better..,” Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said Friday. “We have to limit their easy baskets. We can’t turn the ball over 20 times as that gives them easy transition buckets. We have to take care of the basketball.”

How many of those Cavaliers mistakes were forced, and how many unforced? Lue thinks the majority are unforced, which is why he says they will not change their lineups for Game 2.

“I thought a lot of (what went wrong) can be corrected,” Lue said. “It’s a different dynamic when Kevin Durant is pushing the ball in transition and Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are on the wings, we got spread out in transition. We have to do better….

“They only shot 42 percent from the field. You take away those transition buckets and them having 20 more shots than us, take those away and it’s a different game.”

The transition was part of the problem, but Cleveland did not do a good job protecting the rim in the halfcourt either. Do they pack the paint? What should the Warriors expect?

“I expect the Cavs to be more physical to combat this,” Klay Thompson said.

“I don’t know if they’ll pack the paint… but I’ll expect they’ll make adjustments and do better in that department next game,” Warriors interim coach Mike Brown said.

It was part of a theme — Golden State knows it has not taken Cleveland’s best shot.

“I do expect them to play better,” Brown said. “I understand they didn’t feel they played their best game, and they can go to the film room and have a better plan…

“LeBron said in his press conference that it’s hard to simulate what we do, now they have a game under their belt and they can watch film.”

Cleveland’s coaches can come up with a good game plan, the question is do the Warriors have the players to execute it. Whatever that plan is, it has to start with taking better care of the ball.

“You can credit some of their defense, but some of them were unforced turnovers which led to transition baskets,” Lue said of all the turnovers. “We can’t play in between, that’s when the turnovers happened, we have to be more decisive.”

It’s foolish to brush aside the Cavaliers after one game — this team was down 3-1 last season and came back to win the series. LeBron has a long history of bouncing back from Game 1 losses.

However, the Cavaliers have a lot of work to do. And it needs to start Friday with a more focused effort. And fewer turnovers.