Let’s Talk: NBA Finals, Game 1

We believe that communication is important in relationships, but sometimes you don’t share the same interests as your partner. We are debuting a new feature called “Let’s talk…” where we will give an overview of various topics that someone in your life may be excited about so that you can share in their excitement (or at least fake it). Today, let’s talk about the NBA Finals, Game 1.

This year, the Golden State Warriors are playing the Cleveland Cavaliers for the NBA championship. These two teams played last year in the finals also and the Warriors ended up winning the title. This is the 14th time there has been an NBA Finals rematch. The finals are a best of 7 series, and Game 1 was played last night in Oakland. The Warriors won 104-89 to take a 1-0 series lead.

The Golden State Warriors set a record this season for most wins in a season and have the most popular player in the world right now on their team in Steph Curry. He looks like he’s 12 and plays basketball like most people play video game basketball. Kids love him while old timey basketball purists are more likely to vent about all the terrible shots he takes. He is generally accepted as the greatest shooter to ever play in the NBA. His teammate, Klay Thompson is arguably the second best shooter in the NBA right now. Together, they are called the “Splash Brothers.” It’s catchy.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are led by LeBron James, who I think everybody has heard of. He is considered by many to be the greatest basketball player on the planet. His only competition? Steph Curry. Some people feel that Steph has already surpassed LeBron (tip: sports fans love to refer to players by their first name), others think the title is on the line and that the winner of the NBA Finals this year will cement one or the other as the best player in the league. LeBron came back to Cleveland before last season in an effort to bring a title to one of the longest suffering sports fan bases in the country. Cleveland last won a title in any of the major professional sports in 1964. If the Cavs were to win the title this year, the city would probably deify LeBron and build many, many statues of his likeness in commemoration of his greatness. Additionally, nine months from now, Cleveland would experience a noticeable uptick in the number of babies being born and the number of boys (and probably girls, let’s not kid ourselves) named “LeBron” or “James.”

When talking about the NBA Finals with that special basketball fan in your life, it will help if you know which team he or she is rooting for. For each Game 1 story line, we provide a team specific interpretation of the data to aid in your discussion.

  • Steph Curry and Klay Thompson played terribly and only scored 20 points combined. This is the least amount of points they have combined to score in two years.
    • Warriors fan: The “Splash Brothers” only scored 20 points and the Warriors still won by 15! You know they are going to get it going. The Cavs are in trouble.
    • Cavs fan: The Cavs defense shut down Curry and Thompson last night. If they do this all series long, the Warriors are in trouble.
  • The Warriors bench players outscored the Cavs bench players 45-10 last night. This was especially fortunate since the Warriors top two players played unusually bad (see point 1).
    • Warriors fan: It’s all about the team. The Warriors motto is “Strength in Numbers” and this is why. Once Curry and Thompson get it going, the Cavs are in trouble.
    • Cavs fan: There’s no way the Warriors bench is going to outscore the Cavs bench by 35 points again. If the Cavs bench performs better and the Warriors bench regresses to the mean (hint: sports nerds love the phrase “regress to the mean”), then the Warriors are in trouble.
  • Warriors head coach Steve Kerr broke a clipboard last night.

    He had a funny quote (or disturbingly cavalier quote) about it afterwards, “Destruction tends to ease some of the anger, so I try to take it out on a clipboard instead of a player. It’s better that way.”

    • Warriors fan: The Warriors outscored the Cavs by 11 after that clipboard smash. Kerr sure knows how to fire up his team. The Cavs are in trouble.
    • Cavs fan: Somebody needs to take anger management courses. With someone so unstable at the helm, the Warriors are in trouble.


  • Cavs backup point guard Matthew Dellavedova inadvertently (or advertently) hit Warriors player Andre Iguodala in his happy place.

    Bonus points if you make a pun involving balls. Double bonus points if you make a pun based on the fact that Dellavedova is from Australia (i.e. hit him “down under”) when you bring this up.

    • Warriors fan: Dellavedova is a dirty player. I mean, Iggy had the ball up here (motion somewhere near the neck) so it looked intentional. The Warriors went on a 17-4 run right after he did this though which really shows their mettle. The Cavs are in trouble.
    • Cavs fan: Dellavedova was clearly trying to swipe at the ball. It was just unlucky that he missed and racked Iguodala accidentally. I’m surprised Iguodala didn’t get called for a technical given his reaction over what was clearly a basketball play and an accident. The Cavs are clearly in his head. The Warriors are in trouble.

I hope these tips help you fake it with the basketball fan in your life. Good luck!

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