Warriors made a quick and surprise last quarter run, ended in 15-0 to close out the game. Warriors b

Warriors made a quick and surprise last quarter run, ended in 15-0 to close out the game. Warriors bench took control of the game and won the game 1 for Warriors!

NBA Finals - 2016
Warriors 1 – Cavaliers 0

15 turnovers and 28 missed shots proved to be very costly for the Cavaliers. Cavs were up by 3 in the 4th but not sure what happened after that. Delly and Iggy had some moments and everything changed after that. Warriors took advantage of the situation and surprised Cavs!

James (after the game)
" We have a game plan and we followed as much as possible so it is great! we got to do a better job!"

Curry and Thompson had a bad night. For Cavs, J R Smith had a bad night.

For those who like to see number, Plot 1 and 2 are for Cavaliers and Plot 2 and 3 for Golden State Warriors. Interestingly, Cavs had 3 players above 20 Net Player Score percentages compared to Warriors. Warriors had just 2 players in this range.

 Cavs need to reset their mindset so do Warriors! Game # 2 will be really interesting.

cff cff Golden State Warriors cff cff 
Cavs Cavs

Repeat of 2015 NBA Finals with Warriors looking forward to defend their title and Cleveland Cavaliers keeping their first championship dreams alive!   

Warriors needed all the 7 games to reach the Finals. Oklahoma Thunders had their chances and home court advantage in Game 6th but they fell apart in the last 5 minutes and forced Game 7 on themselves, not Warriors. Game 6 is going to haunt Thunders for a long time and for sure will have an impact on their roster next season, while Keven Duran ponders about his new free agent status!

At the end of the series, all it matters is the total number of wins. Warriors won 3 and Thunders gave them 1 extra because Thunders wanted to see Warriors in the Finals rather themselves.  How could you not take advantage of 3-1? Another post on this later!

Warriors 4 – Thunders 3

Cleveland Cavaliers had a smooth run in the Eastern Conference.  After sweeping both 1st and 2nd rounds, Cavs had a well-orchestrated, high spirited “Piece of Resistance” (referring Lego Movie) from Raptors for 2 consecutive games. Raptors were able to take advantage of their home court and their loyal fan base.  For 2 games in a row, it was really going “North” for them.  Cavs had their own share of poor performance in these 2 games.  Out of Big 3, 2 failed.  Game 5 and 6 are a different story.  Cavaliers found their rhythm and wrapped of this series on a good note. Meanwhile Raptors for the first time broke their franchise barrier and reached conference finals for the first time.   

Cavaliers 4 – Raptors 2

Not so fun fact: If Warriors did not make it to the finals this year, Cleveland Browns (maybe) have a legitimate opportunity to recruit Green (based on his NBA experience of kicking and ripping), as their Punter, Goal Kicker or for that matter just any kicker!

Amazingly, both teams somehow managed to keep their key players healthy and with no major concerns on injuries. Does this help? We will have to see!  It made a difference in the last year’s finals though.

Now, let's dive into some conference finals post series stats.  Numbers have their own language and they don’t lie a lot unless we want them to. Here I created 2 plots showing each player from both teams, Warriors and Cavaliers. Summarized series stats (last series played) are used from all 7 games for Warriors and 6 games for Cavaliers.

  • Plot 1 - Net Player Score for each player from both teams.  NPS reflects overall impact of a player in the game, based on the minutes on the floor, points, field goal made and attempts, steal, fouls, turnovers etc.
  • Plot 2 - Points scored by each player from both teams

Plot 1 shows that, Curry leads the chart with 97% NPS, simply outstanding. A distant match from Cavalier is James with 77% NPS. This is a significant gap! Cavs need to shut down or slowdown Curry and James need outperform Curry and keep Thompson on the check.  This is not about Cavs Big 3 vs Warriors Splash Brothers!  This is about individual player contributions to the game.

Using Plot 1, let's pick top 10 players based on their NPS (Net Player Score).  No surprise, we can see at least 5 starters from each team.  Does this mean these teams are evenly matched? Not exactly, numbers say something different.  Let’s looks at possible matches (based on NPS)

  • Barnes (25%) and Smith (26 - a possible match
  • Love (36%) and Iguodala (37%) - a possible match
  • Irving (54%) and Green (57%) - a possible match
  • Thompson (67%) does not have a match from Cavaliers
  • Curry (97%) does not have a match from Cavaliers
  • James (77%) falls in between Thompson and Curry. Reality is James can’t top both of these players in every game.

By just looking at the Net Player Score (NPS) alone, Cavs need to have a strong plan to fill the gap between Curry and Thompson and they need to do it for 4 games for their dream to come true. 

For Warriors they just need to keep playing the way they are playing now.  Warriors have very clear edge over Cavaliers. Warriors might end up winning it all, again!

No matter what happens, at CavsFanForever.com,   it is always Go Cavs! Forever!


 


Best start in NBA history - Golden State Warriors with 18-0Golden State Warriors are playing with an
Best start in NBA history - Golden State Warriors with 18-0

Golden State Warriors are playing with an amazing confidence. I think this team only gets better after every game and they might end up in setting a new record for the best start in NBA for years to come. With 18 wins on their side, Warriors are playing this game in a different level compared to last year. Their motive is very clear. Defend and retain their Championship for one more year and they are doing everything they can to achieve this. 

Worst start in NBA history (tied as of 11/30/2015) – Philadelphia Sixers with 0-18

Sixers are a very young team and they came very close to winning some of the 18 games they played. Challenge for this team is to keep their focus on winning few games at least at Home. Sometimes only good thing can come out of hitting rock bottom is bouncing back. 

Kobe Bryant is leaving NBA for good. End of an era!

Kobe announced his retirement. He is retiring from NBA after the current season and no further plans to play any significant role with Lakers. This may change as his retirement becomes a reality. His poem on Player’s Tribunal conveyed the message but in my opinion, his commitment and contribution to Lakers is much bigger than his simple poem. Lakers and Kobe are synonymous for so many years.

The way the Lakers are playing with 2-14 record in Western Conference and no chance of even making it to finals, Kobe’s decision is very appropriate.  Kobe’s dream is to retire as a Laker and he is doing that with pride even with the worst season record instead of turning into a journey man. 

5 time NBA champion, third leading scorer in NBA history and All Star for many number of times. Injuries played a big role in missing a very good number of games last two seasons and above all age must catching up as well. Apart from all side stories, struggles and injuries, Kobe is a heck of a basketball player.

If Kobe is healthy and not going to miss any games in the remainder of the season, Feb 10th, 2016 will be his last appearance as a Laker at Quickens Loan Arena, Cleveland.

In my opinion, this announcement was expected at the end of last season but somehow dragged on. Finally Kobe and Lakers can move on.  Lakers can now rebuild their franchise with new talent and most importantly they have no restriction or obligation to build a team around Kobe anymore. This is a relief for Lakers Management and also a great challenge because nothing can replace Kobe.

Good Luck Kobe! Good Luck Golden State Warriors! Good Luck Sixers!