The NBA Finals have finally started and game 1 was so great. It was an entertaining game from beginning to end. The sad part was that Kyrie Irving was lost for the remainder of the Finals with a fractured kneecap. LeBron did everything he could to lead the Cavaliers to a game 1 upset but he fell short. He scored a career Finals high 44 points in the lost.
44 points was nice but the most important number was the six assists that LeBron had. With Kyrie out, LeBron will have to do even more. Six assists is not enough for LeBron. He scored but the other guys were out of rhythm. Kyrie and LeBron created while Mozgov and Thompson got their points by crashing the boards. J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert combined for 15 points. In fact Smith scored the only bench points for the Cavaliers.
Cleveland needs more from the role players. LeBron scoring 40 is nice but maybe he should be around 30-35 points. He needs to get everyone else involved. Matthew Dellavedova only played nine minutes because Kyrie was playing well. Dellavedova will be in the starting lineup and he must make Steph Curry respect him. In overtime Curry stole the ball from LeBron because he just left Delly open.
LeBron’s usage rate has gone up. In the regular season he was at 32.3%. Kyrie was banged up against the Bulls and LeBron’s usage rate went up to 38.4%. That number went up to 39.6% against the Hawks. In the first game against the Warriors LeBron was at a 47.4% usage rate.
An increased usage rate leads to more shots which LeBron has done. His 38 shots in game 1 was a new career high in shot attempts breaking the record of 37 shots he took in game 3 against the Hawks.
With an increased usage there has been an increase to LeBron’s assist percentage. In the regular season his assist percentage was at 38.6%. That went up to 46.9% against the Bulls. He almost averaged a triple-double against the Hawks and his assist percentage went up to 52.2%. Despite his 47.4% usage rate against the Warriors, his assist percentage was only at 38.3%.
For all the scoring that LeBron can do, he’s at his best when he gets his teammates involved. Against the Bulls he had a total of 53 assists. That generated 133 points for the Cavaliers and 81 of those were from the 3 point line. He had two games where his assists led to 24 points from beyond the arc and at least 30 points overall.
In the four game sweep against the Hawks LeBron had 37 assists. That generated 93 points for the Cavaliers and 57 of those points came from the 3 point line. He had two double-digit assist games and generated 39 points from beyond the arc in those games.
It was only one game against the Warriors and LeBron had six assists. Three of those led to three pointers. If the Cavaliers want to have a chance against the Warriors they need more three pointers off of LeBron’s assist. The Cavs managed to knock down 9 three pointers on 31 attempts. The Warriors were 10-27.
James Jones only took 1 shot, Shumpert and Smith took a combined 19 shots. Dellavedova didn’t even attempt a shot. Those guys have to get some three pointers up. Golden State played LeBron 1 on 1 but he can still get other guys involved.
Passing might be the key for LeBron during this series. 44 points is good but the other guys have to be involved more often. Cleveland needs a big game from Smith and Shumpert. Dellavedova has to be able to knock down a few threes so Steph can’t cheat off of him.
It was only one game and it was fun to watch. This Cavs team is banged up and LeBron will have even more to do without Kyrie. He’s at his best when he gets his teammates involved and he might need to do that more often in this series.