For both the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, it would end up being comfortable victories. LeBron James was victorious against his former club the Miami Heat while Steph Curry and teammates fired on all cylinders to put on a clinic against the Houston Rockets, the team they beat in the West Conference Finals back in May.
What prevented the game from being an absolute blowout where the fragments that remained of Miami's "big three". In their post-LeBron era, Bosh and Wade still held the fort respectively, firing when they could to stop Cleveland running away after leading by as many as 11 points in the first half. Before the game there was even time for Wade and James to reminisce, doing their choreographed handshake in the seconds before tip-off in Ohio.
|Image: Washington Post|
The ability of the Cavs to keep their opposition at an arms' length was crucial. Thompson on the alley-oop and Jefferson's corner three in the fourth helped them build the bigger lead to all but secure the win; and Cleveland improved to 2-1 while Miami are at evens with wins and losses.
|Image: Ken Blaze / USA TODAY Sports|
Over in the West, Houston Rockets again failed to show up. In front of their fans at the Toyota Center in Houston, it was the reigning champions Golden State Warriors who received all the plaudits for basketball totality as they defeated the Texans by 20 points.
It was in fact Harden who struggled with his shot throughout the game, going 1-10 from three point range and an overrall field goal tally of 4-18. Dwight Howard, who crashed 7 boards for the Rockets, was rather quiet himself too, adding just 9 points to his statpad having served a one-game suspension for a flagrant foul during the spring's playoffs.
Transition play was also essential in their achievement of a sixth straight win against the Rockets. After the first quarter feeling out processes were put to one side, it was a cruise to victory for the reigning champions. Houston have lost their first two games, while the Wariors have now won both theirs.
On a night where the season truly kicked off, last season's NBA finalists are both victorious. Are they on a collision course to meet one another in the Finals again?