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Cavs must help self first to turn series around

By: Brandon Harrison

Cleveland’s big three had big games, but the rest of the team did almost nothing to help the Cavaliers in game one.

Game 1 of the NBA Finals was far from what most outside the Bay Area fans would have predicted. The Warriors dominated the Cavaliers, 113-91. The second half was not competitive, and the Cavaliers did not look like they were capable of defending Kevin Durant. But it is important to keep in mind that one game one blowout does not mean this series is over. Last year the Warriors beat the Cavaliers by 15 points in game one and then smashed them by 33 points in game two. The Cavaliers then went on to win the series.

The Cavaliers just have to take a step back and make the necessary adjustments to ensure they can remain competitive. And two key areas that the Cavaliers must sure up most if they hope to tie the series back up are cutting down on the turnovers and getting more than just the big three involved.

LeBron James turned the ball over eight times in game one, twice as many as the entire Warriors team did combined.

The offense begins and ends with LeBron James. He orchestrates the offense, directing traffic as he looks to attack or defer to the open shot. James’ court vision and passing ability are staples of the Cavs offense, but in game one something was off. James committed an uncharacteristically high number of turnovers, eight. That led to easy transition buckets on the other end for the Warriors. The Cavaliers as a unit committed 20 turnovers compared to Golden State, which committed only four.

The Warriors are among the best defensive units in the NBA and often force opponents to make bad decisions with the ball. However, this was not the care in game one. Most of the turnovers committed by James and the rest of the Cavaliers were a result of bad communication and lapses in concentration. For a team full of players with extremely high basketball IQ’s, those turnovers were surprising, to say the least.

Considering the veteran leadership on that team, the Cavs should not have the same problem going into game two. However, if the communication does not improve, the Warriors will feast off all the transition buckets.

And if James can cut down on his turnovers, the rest of the team has to play better.

After James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, the rest of the Cavaliers combined for only 23 points on 7-for-31 shooting. Even players that the team does not rely on for scoring did not contribute in key areas. Tristan Thompson was particularly disappointing and did not show up game one. He had four turnovers and only four rebounds in 22 minutes. Three-point specialist Kyle Korver only attempted three shots from behind the arc and missed two of them.

The big three in Cleveland did great, but they need help to contend with the All-Star-filled lineup in Golden State.

As a team, no other Cavaliers player outside of the big three scored more than 10 points. Competing with Golden State is a challenge on its own, but the Cavaliers handicapping themselves is not the answer. On Golden State’s side, only one player who entered the game did not score, and he had some rebounds.

Veterans like Korver and Deron Williams saw extended playing time for the Cavaliers but did not make a difference on either end of the court in any way. The team needs bigger contributions from their role players if they plan on competing in this series.

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Brandon Harrison

Staff Writer
Ever since his birth, you could not find Brandon without a ball in his hands. Any sport he could find Brandon played and played very well he might add. A remarkable baseball infielder, Brandon could play with the best of the best and even earned himself a full scholarship to play for Gilman, one of the best high schools in Maryland. Unfortunately, life (read: injury) did not permit Brandon to reach his full potential on the diamond but don't tell him that as he still believes he's the next Derek Jeter, but that is neither here nor there. Nowadays, Brandon spends his time attending Morgan State University as a Sports Management major. He hopes to change the world using sports to bridge the gaps that still divide people today and one day he just might accomplish this goal, as long as he doesn't get injured trying.

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