The Golden State Warriors came out swinging in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, thrashing LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in stunning fashion.
The Warriors would led by as many 24 points Thursday night, running away with things as Kevin Durant enjoyed a dream game in his return to the NBA Finals. He scored 38 points on 14-of-26 shooting with zero turnovers, thoroughly dominating the opening game.
LeBron has lost six Game 1’s in a row, so there’s no reason to count the Cavaliers out just yet. The Warriors could be on the receiving end of even more positive vibes, though, with some exciting news following the blowout to open the championship series.
Golden State is three wins away from another championship and their playoff run has been helmed by Mike Brown since Game 3 of the first round. The Warriors have gone unbeaten through the postseason regardless, notching 13 wins in a row.
There’s no signs of the Warriors having any problem working under Brown, but the Cavaliers are going to dig deep to find a way to make this series competitive. That’s why news that head coach Steve Kerr could be ready to return for Game 2 on Sunday, reported by Ramona Shelburne and Chris Haynes of ESPN, is huge for Golden State.
The Warriors have a chance to clinch a commanding 2-0 lead by taking care of home court advantage, and having Kerr on the sideline would be huge. Even if he can’t travel with the team for Games 3 or 4, Kerr could be instrumental in holding off what’s sure to be a desperate Cavaliers team.
Kerr was considering coaching Game 1 on Thursday, but ultimately he felt poorly enough on Wednesday that he decided to leave Brown to continue leading the Warriors. Kerr has been suffering from migraines and nausea attributed to back surgery he underwent two years ago.
Golden State looked head and shoulders above Cleveland in Game 1, performing at peak levels. Durant’s impact was felt, with the Cavaliers’ defense getting picked apart. The gravity that Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have on the perimeter opened the floor for Durant, and vice versa.
LeBron isn’t likely to take losing this series without a fight, and Kerr helping guide his team to a 2-0 lead would be a huge step toward securing their second championship in three years. If not, Brown has proven more than capable of keeping the ball rolling in the absence of their leader.