Inside The Box Score: 2018 NBA Finals Game 1
By Brian Martin
Not only is this the fourth straight time the Warriors and Cavaliers have met in the NBA Finals, it is also the fourth straight time that the Warriors have opened the series with a Game 1 win. Thursday’s 124-114 win was the second to come in overtime (108-100 in Game 1 of the 2015 Finals) and the third to be decided by double digits.
Let’s take a closer look at Golden State’s Game 1 win with a deep dive into the box score
Traditional (View Stats)
- LeBron James scored a playoff career-high 51 points, becoming one of six players to score at least point games in Finals history, and the only one to do so in a loss.
- The other five 50+ point games in Finals history: Bob Pettit (50 in 1958), Elgin Baylor (61 in 1962), Rick Barry (55 in 1967), Jerry West (53 in 1969), and Michael Jordan (55 in 1993).
- LeBron shot 19-32 (59.4%) from the field, 3-7 from 3-point range and 10-11 from the free throw line. In addition to his scoring, LeBron added eight rebounds, a team-high eight assists, one steal and one block in Game 1. He joined Russell Westbrook (4/19/2017 vs Houston) as the only players since 1984 to post 50-8-8 in a playoff game; both LeBron and Westbrook lost despite those epic performances.
- After playing all 48 minutes in Cleveland’s Game 7 win over Boston in the East Finals, LeBron played a game-high 47:32 out of 53 minutes in Game 1.
- Game 1 was LeBron James’ eighth game with at least 40 points in this year’s playoffs - tying Jerry West for the most in playoff history. LeBron was tied with Michael Jordan for second heading into Thursday’s game.
- LeBron James scored at least 30 points in a playoff game for the 109th time in his career, tying Michael Jordan for the most ever. Kobe Bryant ranks third all-time with 88.
- The Warriors opened overtime with a 9-0 run and took their biggest lead of the game (11 points) with just over a minute to play in the extra session. Cleveland also led by as many as 11 points in Game 1 as the game featured 15 lead changes and 17 ties.
- After shooting just 2-17 from 3-point range in the West Finals against Houston, Draymond Green made 2-5 from beyond the arc in Game 1 vs. Cleveland, with his second coming with 1:36 left in overtime to put the Warriors up 10 points.
- Cleveland dominated the rebound battle, 53-38, for the game, with their 15-rebound advantage all coming on the offensive glass. Both teams grabbed 34 defensive rebounds, but the Cavs grabbed 19 offensive boards to Golden State’s four.
- Larry Nance Jr. matched the Warriors on the offensive glass by himself in just 19 minutes off the bench. Nance finished with 11 points and 9 rebounds in Game 1.
- Despite having an off shooting night (8-22 FG, 36.4%), Kevin Durant led all players with a plus-17 during his 46 minutes on the court. This was the fourth time in the last five games that Durant shot under 38 percent from the field.
Advanced (View Stats)
- JR Smith posted the lowest offensive rating (102.0) of any player on the Cavs that played more than the closing seconds. That combined with a defensive rating of 129.4, gave Smith the lowest net rating (-27.4) of any player that played at least five minutes in Game 1.
- Larry Nance Jr. grabbed 30.6% of all available rebounds while he was on the floor. The Cavs had the top three players in rebound percentage as Kevin Love (20.3%) and Tristan Thompson (15.6%) also finished above the top rate Warriors (Draymond Green at 13.8%).
- As a team, the Warriors posted an assist to turnover ration of 3.88, which is their highest mark of the playoffs and the third-best of the entire season.
Miscellaneous (View Stats)
- The Cavs had a 21-10 advantage in second chance points, with LeBron James (nine) and Kevin Love (eight) leading the way. Kevin Looney led with Warriors with six of their 10 second chance points.
- LeBron James led all players with 24 points in the paint. He shot 12-18 in the paint overall and 9-10 inside the restricted area.
- The Warriors outscored the Cavs 28-18 on fast break points, with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson leading the way with eight points apiece. LeBron James led all players with 10 fast break points, accounting for more than half of Cleveland’s total by himself.
Scoring (View Stats)
- In his 51-point masterpiece, LeBron James scored 62.7% of his points on 2-point shots, 17.6% on 3-point shots and 19.6% on free throws. Of his 19 field goals made, 16 of them (84.2%) were unassisted.
Usage (View Stats)
- As expected, LeBron James led all players in usage rate at 38.1%. Jordan Clarkson ranked second on the Cavs at 26.3% in his 17 minutes of action, but shot just 2-9 from the field and 0-3 from beyond the arc.
Four Factors (View Stats)
- The Warriors held advantages in two of the four factors (effective field goal percentage and turnover ratio), while the Cavs dominated one factor (offensive rebound percentage) and the teams tied in the fourth (free throw percentage).
- Golden State as a team had an effective field goal percentage of 58.3%, compared to just 49.5% for the Cavaliers. In the playoffs, the Warriors are undefeated in 12 games in which they post an eFG% of 52.0% or better.
- Cleveland’s 35.8% offensive rebound percentage was their second-best performance of the playoffs (topped only by Game 6 of the East Finals at 36.6%). This was the first time the Cavs lost a game this postseason in which they grabbed at least a quarter (25%) of available offensive rebounds.
Hustle (View Stats)
- The Warriors doubled up the Cavaliers in steals in Game 1 (10-5) and nearly doubled them up in deflections as they held a 20-13 advantage in Game 1. Draymond Green led all players with five deflections as he finished with five steals in a stat-stuffing performance (13 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists, 5 steals, 2 blocks, 2 3-pointers).
- Green joins Michael Jordan (5/13/1989) and Rajon Rondo (4/20/2009) to have at least 13 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists and five steals in a playoff game since 1984. He is the only one of those players to record two blocks as well.
- Despite the rebounding disparity, the Warriors had more box outs than the Cavaliers, 48-45, with Draymond Green leading all players with 17 box outs. No other player had more than eight box outs in the game.
- In addition to his nine points and 11 rebounds (four offensive), Larry Nance Jr had three deflections, four loose balls recovered, four contested shots and seven box outs in his 19 minutes off the bench.