The first game of the NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors did not disappoint. Until the third quarter.
Here are some observations from last night:
1. It’s only one game, but Golden State really passed the look test.
I was holding out on buying them being so heavily favored until seeing them on the floor in a playoff game against the Cavs again.
Man, they are athletic, fast and skilled.
Do the Warriors have the toughness to hold up in a long series? They didn't last year, but they're even more talented now. They also might be softer.
2. Dominant Durant is a sight to behold.
I have to admit I had kinda had forgotten how good Durant is.
Like not just a great shooter but a scorer who is huge and can attack the basket.
There are so many very good players out there now we sometimes forget just what a great player looks like.
Obviously LeBron is under a microscope every game so there's no missing him (if you're not too busy arguing about his legacy), but Durant has a tendency to slip in and out of the spotlight based on the quality of his current teams (and some injuries).
At full power, Durant is amazing.
The handles and speed and athleticism are something, but then the effortless way he splashes jumpers... man.
3. Durant carried the Warriors while the original Golden State Big 3 tried to find their footing.
Only Steph Curry actually broke through, ending up with 28 points on 11-for-22 shooting.
Draymond Green ended up playing a solid floor game while Klay Thompson’s carried over his disappointing play from Game 7 of last year.
4. Golden State had 31 assists and four turnovers.
5. The Cavaliers probably aren’t going to win many games where Zaza Pachulia outscores Tristan Thompson.
Pachulia had a rocky start — also reminiscent of Game 7 2016 — but ended up with eight points and six rebounds in 14 minutes. Thompson missed all three shots he took and grabbed only four caroms.
6. The game was very physical.
I don't think it favored either team, but the game was a little too physical for my liking. Too much clutching and grabbing. Lots of contact in the lane.
7. This is far from over.
That’s obvious given how last year played out. It remains to be seen how much of what we saw last night will carry over to Game 2 or (more importantly) beyond.
Nobody on either side played beyond his capabilities.
Both Thompsons and Draymond Green have lot of room for improvement, and there are numerous intriguing role players on either side who could make a major mark on the series before all is said and done.
I still think a grinding series benefits the Cavaliers, who are full of crafty veterans and already know in the last two minutes they can count on LeBron James and Kyrie Irving to turn a game.
But if Golden State can keep the pedal to the floor, they could make that moot.
While the NBA Finals dominated the news cycle yesterday, here are a few more nuggets to chew on:
The College Football Hall of Fame Ballot for 2018 is out, and it includes a couple of Dayton natives.
Roth graduate Keith Byars has gotta get in eventually, right?
He was the Big Ten Silver Football Winner (league MVP) in 1984 when he was robbed of the Heisman Trophy by Doug Flutie and is still fifth in Ohio State history in rushing yards.
The Dayton Flyers handed out a new scholarship offer.
Kira Lewis is a four-star point guard from Alabama per 247sports. His previous offers include Alabama and Auburn.
A pair of Dayton Dragons have been suspended for their role in a benches-clearing brawl over the weekend.
The Dragons remain in second place in the Midwest League East after South Bend beat them with a ninth-inning rally for the second time in three nights.
Dunbar running back Tavion Thomas says his next recruiting update will be coming this weekend.