Perhaps that pesky Knicks team coached by JVG still holds the title, but if not these guys are right there.
Game 1 is in the books and we won thanks to a virtuoso performance from James Harden, solid team defense, and Clint Capela looking as good as I've seen him. Outside of those two the rest of the team shot 14-42 including 3-25 from deep.
How did we win???
We were out-rebounded (by a lot), they made more foul shots than we attempted (on a better % too), and (in the 1st half) played our game better than we did knocking down one open 3-pointer after another.
The two things that stand out are the blocks and steals---we had 8 apiece. The T-Wolves had 5 combined. That's a lot of defensive stops and a lot of fast break opportunities; although, the stats show we only enjoyed a 13-10 advantage in fast break points for the game.
We also managed to take a 54-44 edge on points in the paint. That is a lot.
I agree with DenverRocket that once the 3pt. shooting comes back this series should end nicely for us; however, I'm also counting on Thibs to make some adjustments.
First thing I would do is post Towns on Capela early and often if for no other reason than to try and get him in early foul trouble and keep him off the floor. (Did y'all see Capela swat that one post-up right back into his face? I did. It was glorious.)
For us, I think D'Antoni and Chris Paul need to spend some time with the chalkboard. He looked a little lost out there most of the game in half court sets...which should be his bread and butter. Also, how did Eric Gordon play 30 minutes of that game and I barely noticed he was on the floor?
One last thing: I will continue to eat crow on this James Harden thing. Not only has he eliminated all the things I disliked about his game, but he has also improved and expanded the good parts beyond where I thought he could get. He is one of the best passers in the game--something I did not expect. He is leading. He is playing both ends of the floor. Heck, he has almost eliminated that herky-jerky-floppy thing from his game. The best part is he is making it all look easy when we know it is anything but that.
Looking across the landscape of the NBA I would argue that right now he is the best player in the league. Not LeBron, not KD, not Steph, not Anthony Davis...James Harden. (LeBron is still really close though) It's time to sit back and enjoy the show. (Also, how good does it feel to be Daryl Morey? Every day you wake up and remember that you traded for the best player in the league.)