June 2, 2017 / 4:02 PM / 4 months ago

LeBron says stopping Warriors' Durant will be tough

Jun 1, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) drives against Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) in the first quarter of the 2017 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - The Cleveland Cavaliers methodically planned for the Golden State Warriors’ high-octane attack but after suffering a crushing loss in Game One of the NBA Finals LeBron James said simulating their offence is impossible.

The Cavaliers, playing their first game in nearly a week, denied rust was a factor in Thursday’s 113-91 loss and simply tipped their cap to a talent-rich Warriors team that have won all 13 of their playoff games this year.

“You cannot simulate what they bring to the table,” James, whose Cavaliers committed 20 turnovers in the loss, said after the game. “No matter how many days that you have to prepare, you can’t simulate what they have.”

Unlike the already talented Warriors squads that Cleveland split the last two Finals with, this version is more dangerous given the offseason addition of four-times NBA scoring champion and former league MVP Kevin Durant.

Durant, playing in his first Finals since 2012 when his former Oklahoma City team lost to Miami, scored 38 points in his return to the NBA’s championship series and also stood his ground admirably while defending James.

“KD,” James said when asked what stood out about the Warriors in their runaway victory.

“I mean, you take one of the best teams that we had ever assembled last year, that we saw in the regular season and in the postseason, and then in the offseason you add a high-powered offensive talent like that and a great basketball IQ like that, that’s what stands out,” said James.

“I mean, it’s no if, ands, or buts. It is what it is. We got to figure out how to combat that, which is going to be a tough challenge for us.”

Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue, when asked after the game how well the Warriors are playing, said “They’re the best I ever seen” but knows his team have more to offer.

The series resumes on Sunday in Oakland and Lue is confident in the Cavs’ ability to make adjustments after getting an up-close look at the Warriors.

“Just getting a chance to see how they play, the style of play, how fast they play, you can’t really simulate that in practices,” said Lue.

“You got to really get out here and get a chance to do it first hand. When we experience that, we’re able to adjust, we’re a lot better.”

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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