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Jun 2, 2017
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The air has cleared, with the Golden State Warriors one-upping the Cleveland Cavaliers, 113-91, during their first meeting in the 2017 NBA Finals.

The reigning titleholders had no answer for the mighty 1-2 punch of Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry (38 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, and 28 pts, 6 reb, 10 ast, 3 steals, respectively), who received enough help from the others. LeBron James did everything he could (28 pts, 15 reb, 8 ast, 8 turnovers), but still saw his hapless record of road Game 1s worsen.

On the heels of a crushing defeat for the Cavs and a convincing victory for the Dubs, a handful of questions abound for the remaining games of the championship series.


Can KD be stopped?

Durant reminded everyone that he was an MVP frontrunner before a knee injury sidelined him late in the season. As expected, he was the biggest—and longest—matchup problem for the Cavs, which tried Kevin Love, Richard Jefferson, and even LeBron on him, but to no avail. Coach Tyronn Lue can make all the necessary adjustments, but will any of his defensive schemes work against the Slim Reaper?

Does Cleveland need more from Love?

Fans should be happy with how the prized forward played: grabbed a playoff career-high 21 rebounds, on top of three blocks. That is, if the same guy didn't also finish with just 15 points, on a horrible 4-of-13 from the field. This level of production is unacceptable considering that Love is one of Cavaliers' primary scoring option. He must contribute on both ends of the floor, being the barometer of his team's offense.

Is there a more team-oriented squad than the Warriors?

Despite gaudy stat lines from Durant and Curry, it would be unfair to discredit the impact of Golden State's efficient supporting cast. Every Dubs player who checked in appeared on the scoreboard, except for one. Those 31 assists—only 15 for Cleveland—was also the reason cold-shooting nights from Klay Thompson (3-16, six points) and Draymond Green (3-12, nine points) didn't matter in the end.

Do the Cavaliers have to play like they want this more?

The numbers were there (Kyrie Irving had 22 points), but the fire wasn't. After a relatively close first half, LeBron and company characteristically relapsed into their bad habits, particularly sloppy rotations and iso ball. Maybe this type of beating is what the defending champions need to wake up and realize that they should come out with a sense of urgency, now more than ever. 

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