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Warriors to build strong Finals footing with James left stranded

| 07.06.2015

In a series as highly strung and tightly contested as the NBA Finals, gaining the early advantage is crucial.

Teams that have won the opening game in previous Finals have a 48-20 series record, making the Golden State Warriors’ 108-100 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers a telling one.

Not only do the 2/9 Championship favourites now have a considerable historical advantage over LeBron James and co, but their own record at home puts them in an even stronger position ahead of Game 2.

Following the overtime victory on Thursday night, Stephen Curry and his teammates are now 47-3 at the Oracle Arena this season, a record that includes an 8-1 mark during the playoffs.

With Game 2 set to take place in the Bay Area stadium once again, the 10/29 about another Golden State triumph looks hard to oppose.

James was a force in the first battle, scoring 44 points, but found little help from his teammates, especially once point-guard Kyrie Irving hobbled to the locker room with a knee injury.

It is unclear whether the All-Star, who has played through problems with both his knee throughout the latter part of the postseason, will be available to understudy James in Game 2, but regardless of Irving’s presence the four-time MVP needs support.

Cleveland only used three players off the bench in Game 1 and only one of those, JR Smith, managed to score. Even then the former New York Knicks swingman shot 3 for 13 on what was a rough shooting outing in general for the Ohio franchise.

Much of the Warriors’ success has been built on staunch defence and they held the Cavaliers to just one make in the course of overtime as Curry took over the game offensively.

A repeat of such exploits in Game 2 and the series could be unassailable for the Warriors already.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.