Cavs must impose themselves

Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant driving to the basket, past LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game One. The Cavs defence have to stop danger man Durant from making uncontested dunks and leaving him wide open, or Game Two will go the same
Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant driving to the basket, past LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game One. The Cavs defence have to stop danger man Durant from making uncontested dunks and leaving him wide open, or Game Two will go the same way as the Finals opener.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Coach Lue wants champs to be more aggressive and reduce turnovers in Game 2

OAKLAND (California) • LeBron James and his Cleveland team-mates will need quicker decisions and more aggressive play in the Game Two of the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals after the Cavaliers were routed by Golden State in the opener.

The Warriors ripped defending champions Cleveland 113-91 on Thursday behind 38 points from forward Kevin Durant and 28 by guard Stephen Curry as the best-of-seven championship series began.

"I know we'll play better," Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said of Game Two which starts on Sunday (tomorrow, Singapore time).

"But we have to take away the easy baskets. We did a poor job of taking care of the basketball and they were able to get out in transition and get easy baskets."

Lue would not likely be making any changes in the starting line-up, but he does want to see quicker decision making, saying hesitation led to turnovers.

"We have to just do a better job of being direct with what we want to do," he added.

"We can't be caught in between. That's when turnovers happen. We have to be aggressive getting to the basket or making the right passes and right play."

The Cavs gave away 20 turnovers, eight of them by James on a night where he had 28 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists. Golden State had only four giveaways, matching a Finals record low.

NO CAKEWALK

Somebody will have to do a better job at stopping the dribble drive. They're a good team. They're going to make adjustments. We expect them to play better.

MIKE BROWN , Warriors acting coach, expects the Cavs to bring their 'A' game in Game Two after their drubbing in the Finals opener.

However, Warriors acting coach Mike Brown also expects a better showing from the Cavaliers on Sunday.

"Definitely somebody will have to do a better job at stopping the dribble drive," he said.

"We all knew and saw that they were very concerned with the three-point shooters, and Kevin Durant (was) able to drive to the rim with uncontested dunks."

There is a chance Warriors coach Steve Kerr, out since Game Three of the play-offs with complications due to back surgery, could return on Sunday. But Brown is calling the shots for now.

"They're a good team. They're going to make adjustments," Brown said. "We expect them to play better. They're going to be more focused in terms of what they want to accomplish on both ends of the floor.

Cleveland's renewed focus on stopping Durant should open opportunities for Curry and guard Klay Thompson.

"We're going to have to help him (Durant) out as far as knocking shots down from the perimeter," Thompson said.

"We have to have the mindset of a must win, because (Thursday's) great game almost means nothing if we lose on Sunday."

The Warriors, off to a record 13-0 play-off start to match an NBA post-season win streak record, could become the first NBA champion to run through four play-off rounds undefeated.

But Golden State approach history with caution.

They won a record 73 regular-season games last season only to lose the NBA Finals to Cleveland by one game.

"This year we're 13-0 and playing at a very high level. But we've still got a long way to go," Thompson added.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


NBA FINALS

Game Two: Singtel TV Ch110, tomorrow, 8am.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 04, 2017, with the headline 'Cavs must impose themselves'. Print Edition | Subscribe