Warriors

Three factors that led to Warriors' blowout Game 1 win over Cavs

Three factors that led to Warriors' blowout Game 1 win over Cavs

OAKLAND -- Here are three factors -- besides the obvious production from Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry -- that helped the Warriors post a 113-91 win over Cleveland in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

BALL SECURITY

The Warriors committed four turnovers, their lowest total through 13 games this postseason as well as the entirety of the 82-game regular season.

This is the kind of ball security that warms the heart of ailing head coach Steve Kerr.

“I give our guys credit,” acting head coach Mike Brown said. “Steve just said it to our guys at the end of the game: We had a formula, and our guys did a nice job trying to follow it. And he gave them credit.

“He's talked from day one about winning the possession game, and our guys had four turnovers for the course of the game. That's a good defensive team and they're active and athletic and long and anticipate really well. So for them to be able to jump the passing lanes like they have in the past and so on and so forth, for our guys to go out there for 48 minutes and have four turnovers, that was fantastic.”

The Warriors won by 23. They gave the Cavaliers only six points off the four turnovers, while scoring 21 points off 20 Cleveland giveaways.

DEFENSE TO OFFENSE

The Warriors came into the series believing defense would be the key to success. It surely looked that way in Game 1, as they held the Cavs to 34.9 percent from the field -- and a stifling 30.2 in the second half.

It’s another element of the formula Kerr and his staff believes will work against any team: Play nasty defense, and the offense will follow.

“It all starts from getting stops,” Durant said. “We get stops, we worry about defense first, and offensively we can move the ball around, drive and kick and try to find shots as well. So I'm more focused on defense.”

Despite being outrebounded, 59-50, the Warriors put up 20 more shots than Cleveland. Credit goes to their defense for generating most of them.

They also outscored the Cavs 27-8 in transition points, which on the surface suggests an offensive juggernaut.

“The best thing about tonight, obviously, was just our defensive presence and effort for 48 minutes,” Curry said.

LeBron James (9-of-20 from the field) and Kyrie Irving (10-of-22) aside, Cleveland shot 25 percent (11-of-44) from the field.

INVISIBLE TRISTAN

One of the keys to beating the Cavaliers to keep hyper-aggressive rebounding center Tristan Thompson off the glass, particularly on the offensive end.

Behind solid play and smart tactics of center Zaza Pachulia, along with help from Draymond Green and Durant, the Warriors excelled. Thompson grabbed four rebounds and his general ineffectiveness limited him to 22 minutes.

“Another thing we talked about was keeping them off the offensive glass and Tristan Thompson's a load,” Brown said. “He's been destroying almost everyone he's come across in the playoffs on the offensive glass. Zaza Pachulia didn't play a ton of minutes, but the minutes he played, especially at the beginning of the game, kind of set the tone for us on the offensive glass.”

Thompson played all 12 minutes of the opening quarter, grabbing one rebound.

Green hauled in 11 rebounds in 36 minutes, Pachulia six in 14 minutes.

Andrew Bogut's agent had no idea center was talking to Warriors about return

Andrew Bogut's agent had no idea center was talking to Warriors about return

When rumors around Andrew Bogut's potential return to the Warriors began to circulate, many people were caught entirely off guard.

But it wasn't just fans and analysts who were surprised the 2005 No. 1 overall pick would be returning to help his former team capture another title. 

Bogut's agent apparently had no idea the veteran center and the Warriors had been discussing a return to the Bay Area.

“Funny enough, my agent didn’t even know,” Bogut told The Athletic's Ethan Strauss. “I told my agent, ‘Hey I’m talking to the Warriors,’ and he was like, ‘What the f***? Do they know I’m your agent? Why don’t they call me?’”

The 34-year-old last played for the Warriors during the 2015-16 season and has been out of the NBA since January of 2018.

[RELATED: Steph explains why final regular season games are very important to Warriors]

In the four games since his return to the two-time defending champions, Bogut is averaging 5.3 points and 6.2 rebounds while looking slimmer and more athletic, something he attributes to drinking more beer and having a less rigorous schedule while being back home in Australia. 

The unexpected reunion has been a success so far. Perhaps when Bogut officially hangs up his sneakers he can start a second career as an agent.

It's worked out so far.

Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic suffers gruesome leg injury vs. Nets

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USATSI

Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic suffers gruesome leg injury vs. Nets

Blazers starting center Jusuf Nurkic suffered a horrible, horrible injury during Monday night's game against the Nets.

If you watched it live or have watched a replay, you know how brutal it was. If you haven't watched the video, DON'T.

Just think Gordon Hayward, Kevin Ware, Paul George and Shaun Livingston.

It was that bad.

Shortly after midnight, the Blazers announced that Nurkic suffered a compound fractures to his left tibia and fibula, and that there is no timetable for his return.

Nurkic was having a monster game at the time of the injury, dropping in 32 points and grabbing 16 rebounds, and the Blazers beat the Nets in double overtime, but neither matters at this point.

Losing Nurkic is another huge blow for the Blazers, who currently sit in fourth place in the Western Conference. They are already playing without shooting guard CJ McCollum, who strained his popliteus muscle in his left knee.

Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins was among the current and former players to send their thoughts and prayers to Nurkic.