NBA wrap – Cavs steal Game 1, Curry shines
Cavs get it done in Canada
On less than two days rest and travelling to a hostile environment against the Eastern Conference’s number one seed, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ backs were against the wall from the opening tip in Toronto.
Four quarters and overtime later and the Cavs walked out of the Air Canada Centre with a 1-0 series lead, continuing their recent playoff dominance over the Toronto Raptors.
LeBron James was once again the star for the three-time reigning Eastern Conference champions, dropping 26 points to go along with 11 rebounds and 13 assists (to just one turnover), his 21st career playoff triple double.
James wasn’t without help as his much maligned teammates came to play.
JR Smith scored 20 points on five-for-six shooting from behind the three-point line while Kyle Korver added five threes of his own on route to 19 points for the game.
Both hit clutch three-pointers in overtime that gave the Cavaliers the edge with James unable to find his shot, going zero-for-four in the extra period.
Despite the Cavs’ role-players finding their rhythm, the Raptors still had chances to win Game 1.
Fred VanVleet missed a three-pointer with less than eight seconds to go in the fourth quarter, followed by four tip-in attempts at the rim.
Jonas Valanciunas’ attempt was the home side’s best opportunity but he couldn’t get it to drop and that opened the door for Cleveland to secure victory.
Cleveland created history as they became just the second team in the last 20 postseasons to win despite not leading in regulation.
The Raptors will need to regroup and win Game 2 if they are to overcome previous playoff demons against LeBron, who as a member of the Cavs has won seven straight games in the playoffs against Toronto.
Stephen Curry looked as if he’d never left in his return from injury, scoring 28 points in 27 minutes as his Golden State Warriors went up 2-0 against the New Orleans Pelicans, 121-116.
With his trademark swagger, shimmying after baskets and his ability to electrify the home crowd on show, Curry drained five threes in his first game since March 23rd.
Running mate Kevin Durant added 29 points while Draymond Green, who recorded a triple double in the series opener, nearly matched his Game 1 efforts dropping 20 points, 9 rebounds and 12 assists.
The Pelicans showed they can hang with the Warriors and were much better in Game 2, but they still couldn’t overcome the Warriors multiple scoring weapons.
Anthony Davis recorded 25 points and 15 rebounds to lead the New Orleans resistance while Jrue Holiday bounced back from a poor performance, scoring 24 points and adding eight rebounds and eight assists.
The Pelicans starters combined for 103 of 116 points and this highlights how dependent New Orleans are on the starting lineup for their offence to find gear.
They’ll need a greater output from their bench if they want to get over the hump against Golden State.
The series shifts to New Orleans for games three and four, a loss in either would all but end any chance the Pelicans have of winning the series.
Only 11 teams have overcome 3-1 series deficits in NBA history.