The defending champion Golden State Warriors found themselves as whopping 13-point home favorites in Game 1 of the Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers Thursday night.
In the end, it took a massive mistake from J.R. Smith, a questionable foul call on LeBron James and a tremendous overtime run for the Warriors to come out on top.
In the lead up to this series, there’s been several articles written about how LeBron James and the Cavaliers are in over their heads. Talking heads on television and podcasts noting the same thing.
The narrative being that this will be a short series with Golden State earning back-to-back championships.
While that still might be the case, James’ dominating 51-point Game 1 performance has quieted this narrative a little.
In being asked about whether the tight affair in Game 1 was a wake-up call for his Warriors, head coach Steve Kerr turned the question into a shot at the media.
Steve Kerr on whether Game 1 was a wake-up call for the Warriors: "I think it's your wake-up call. We came into this series knowing what we're up against. I hope the media got a wake-up call."
— Chris Fedor (@ChrisFedor) June 1, 2018
That’s respect right there. The Warriors understand what a massive task it is to take on any LeBron James-led squad. With the King potentially playing the best basketball of his career, that’s magnified even further.
So while the force-fed narrative from the media is that Cleveland won’t make this a series, Golden State knows full well what it’s up against. James has not made eight consecutive Finals trips for no reason. Four of those have now come against the Warriors. The respect factor is there.