Golden State Warriors Take Early Series Lead vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers
The Golden State Warriors easily defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 104-89 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. The Warriors’ effort was led by their bench, specifically Shaun Livingston who led the team in scoring with 20 points on 8-10 shooting. It was the first time all season Livingston led the team in scoring.
Leandro Barbosa also came in hot off the bench for Golden State, scoring 11 points in 11 minutes going a perfect 5-5 from the field. The NBA’s best backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thomson struggled mightily shooting the ball, but it didn’t matter with the Warriors’ bench outscoring the Cavs’ bench 45-10.
Curry, the league MVP, shot just 4-15 from the field and committed a game-high 5 turnovers. Thompson shot just 4-12 and failed to reach double figures in scoring.
Warriors’ coach, Steve Kerr, praised his bench after the game:
“We play a lot of people, and we feel like we have a lot of talent on the bench that can come in and score when we need it. So it’s a great sign obviously that we can win in the finals without those two guys having big games, but it’s not really that surprising to us. This has been our team the last couple of years.”
Draymond Green had the most outstanding game of the Warriors’ starters. He finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 7 assists. He also played to his defensive reputation, collecting 4 steals and drawing an offensive foul on LeBron James.
James had a typical good all-around performance with 23 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists. Kyrie Irving had 26 points to lead all scorers. Kevin Love had 17 points and 13 rebounds. The Cavs’ “Big 3” played pretty good, but pretty good is not remotely good enough to beat a great 73-win Warriors team. It especially won’t be good enough without any help from the bench.
James acknowledged so after the game saying:
“Don’t matter what you do with Steph and Klay. Don’t matter what you do with Draymond. Give up 45 points off the bench and 25 points off turnovers on the road. It’s not a good ingredient to win.”
The Cavs made a run in the 3rd quarter to briefly take the lead, but never led by more than 3 or for very long. In addition to the Cavs’ bench playing poorly, J.R. Smith played invisible. He only attempted 3 shots in 36 minutes.
Game 1 could be a very bad sign for the Cavaliers. While the Warriors probably won’t get 45 bench points each game of the series, it’s more unlikely that both Curry and Thompson will combine to shoot so poorly again. Golden State got just 20 points total from the Splash Brothers and were still 15 points better than Cleveland.
Game 2 is Sunday night in Golden State.
(Warriors Take Early Series Lead)