Professional Sports

FULL-COURT PRESS: Conference final openers lack competition

The finals in the Western and Eastern Conference in the NBA Playoffs have now begun.

It all started May 14 when the Golden State Warriors battled the San Antonio Spurs. Before this game, the Warriors had six days of rest.

With that rest, came rust. The Spurs went into the Oracle Arena and stunned the entire crowd. The Spurs continued the dominant play they had in the close out game six against the Houston Rockets. The Spurs scored 30 points in the first quarter and even more impressive, they held the Warriors to only 16 points in the quarter.

Every Warriors fan was stunned and the Spurs did not stop there. They had an even better second quarter, scoring 32 points but the Warriors picked up their play slightly by scoring 26 points in the second quarter.

At halftime, the Spurs were leading the Warriors by 26 points, 62-46.

But the second half was the start of the end for the Spurs. The Warriors increased their defensive pressure and began to score like we knew they could.

The Spurs still managed to score 28 points but it was the Warriors quarter because they outscored the Spurs by 11 by scoring a whopping 39 points. The Warriors continue to roll and the Spurs continued to dissolve. The Warriors held the Spurs to 21 points in the fourth, scored 32 points themselves, which allowed them to win. The Warriors came back from a 25-point deficient to win game one of the Western Conference finals by two points.

The drama of game one came with the injury to Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard, when he shot a jump shot on Warriors’ Zaza Pachulia. Leonard landed on Pachulia’s foot and rolled his left ankle again.

He first injured his ankle in game five of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets. He sat out game six against the Rockets where the Spurs won in a blowout.

He re-aggravated the ankle in game one on a three-point shot attempt by stepping on a teammate’s foot who was sitting on the bench. Later in the third quarter he stepped on Pachulia’s foot. That was the third time in two games for that injured ankle and that injury took him out for the remainder the game.

The way the Warriors started the second half, there was no chance the Spurs could hold on to the lead after Leonard went down. Warriors superstar guard Stephen Curry came out blazing, hitting 14 of 26 shots and scoring 40 points.

Game two was no contest for the Warriors. They were clicking on all cylinders and with Leonard out of the lineup, the Spurs had no chance from the start. The Warriors never looked back, blowing out the Spurs, 136-100.

In the Eastern Conference finals, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers destroyed Isiah Thomas and the Boston Celtics in the opening game. James and Kevin Love led the Cavaliers.

James had 38 points, nine rebounds and seven assists as the Cavaliers beat the Celtics 117-104 May 16.

The Cavaliers scored 30 or more points in three of the four quarters. They led at halftime 61-39.

We knew this game was over in the first quarter. The Celtics kept changing up defenders guarding James, but he exposed them all and showed that there is no one in the league who can stop a determined James. He made 14 of 24 shots from the field and made 9 of his 11 free throws.

Thomas scored 17 points in the game one loss but the leading scorer for the Celtics was Jae Crowder with 21 points. He was 8 of 13 from the field and 1of 2 from the free throw line.

The Celtics will definitely need more from Thomas as well as Al Horford if they have any plans to challenge the Cavaliers.

Game two is May 19. I just hope it’s more competitive.


Shaquita Newton is a sports blogger. She can be reached at