Stephen Curry scored 11 points on 4-15 shooting, while Klay Thompson scored 9 points on 4-12 shooting, and the Warriors won 104-89. If someone would have predicted that before Game 1 they’d have been called crazy; but that’s exactly what happened.
I wrote in yesterday’s article about the advantage that Golden States bench would give them against the Cav’s. We saw it in last year’s Finals matchup as well. A series that saw unlikely hero Andre Iguodala getting the Finals MVP. Last night it was Shaun Livingston who took it upon himself to fill the void left by Klay and Curry’s lackluster performances.
Livingston has been a key player off of the Warriors bench all season long, but no performance of his has been bigger than last night’s. He scored a playoff career high of 20 points shooting 8-10 from the field.
The Warriors bench outscored Cleveland’s bench 45-10, clearly making the biggest difference in the game. Not to be forgotten Barbosa scored 11 points on 5-5 shooting, and Iggy pitched in 12. The Warriors do indeed have strength in numbers.
However, in a lot of ways it felt like the Cav’s beat themselves. Kyrie, who played in his first NBA Finals game of his career shot 7-22 from the field with only 4 assists. It seemed like the Cav’s totally forgot about how they got to the finals and spent the entirety of the game with Kyrie & LeBron iso’s. Which showed in the box score getting out assisted 29-17.
Although he had a near triple double, I feel like LeBron should have been more aggressive. He seemed content taking jumpers rather than doing what he does best: driving. He finished the game with 23 points, 12 rebounds, and 9 assists, but will need to do more to beat this Golden State team.
Kevin Love had himself a nice game with 17 points and 13 rebounds, but seemed a little tentative at times. The Cav’s will also need more out of JR Smith, who is an infamous “gunner” only shot 3 times in the game, giving them little production out of his 36 minutes.
The storyline going into this game was that it was the top two 3 point shooting teams in the league, facing off. Neither team shot well from behind the arch, the Warriors holding the slight edge making 9 to the Cav’s 7.
Going forward the Cav’s will need to make some strong defensive adjustments to try and prevent a repeat of Game 1, but they also have to be prepared for Steph & Klay. It doesn’t take a basketball guru to assume that they won’t play so poorly in Game 2. LeBron is going to have to take over like he did last year if he wants to avoid going 2-5.