OAKLAND—The Golden State Warriors showed the basketball world their historic run this season wasn’t only the brilliance of the Splash Brothers, The Warriors knocked off the Cleveland Cavaliers, 104-89, spearheaded by Shaun Livingston’s 20 points and Golden States bench, outscoring the Cavs, 45-10.
This is a re-match of last year’s final every NBA fan has been anticapating. First, the series pits the games two finest players; two-time reigning MVP Steph Curry vs. LeBron James.
Both Curry and Klay Thompson struggled from the field, combining for only 20 points on 8-27 shooting from the field. It didn’t matter, the bench got this one. The Golden State Warriors have a 1-0 lead in the NBA finals.
Curry’s backup, Shaun Livingston stole the show by dropping a team high 20 points, with a variety of mid-range jumpers. Livingston began his career with the Los Angeles Clippers. He suffered a gruesome knee injury that nearly cost him his leg, not to mention his lifelong dream of playing in the association. Truly a remarkable and admirable achievement.
Life is a series of What-ifs. For instance, what if Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love had been healthy during the 2015 finals? Judging by last night’s results, the Warriors are simply a better team.
The trendy pick going into the finals were the Cleveland Cavaliers. After all, their run this postseason has been impressive, steamrolling through the East. Plus Golden State seemed vulnerable during their epic 7 game series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
LeBron James, who by the way is playing in his sixth straight finals, had a terrific game with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists. He drove to the basket like a speeding locomotive. Turnovers cost them dearly, as it led to Warriors capitalizing on 25 points.
The Cavs shot a dreadful 38 percent from the field. The ball movement was stagnant, as possesions deteriorated into either Irving taking a bad jump shot, or James driving to the rack with no buckets to show for it.
The glass is still half full for the Cavs. They were in the exact same spot last season, before stealing Game 2, and LeBron James is 9-0 in the playoffs after losing Game 1. Kevin Love had 17 points to go with 13 rebounds, encouraging news moving forward.
If the Cavs hope to bring the city of Cleveland a title, their first since 1964, coach Tyrone Lue has to make adjustments. The defense fell prey to the Warriors clever offense, allowing them uncontested baskets all night. Perhaps they should give big men Tristan Thompson and Timofy Mozgov more minutes, to utilize their size and serve as the last line of defense.
This was a prime opportunity for the Cavs to steal Game 1. Curry and Thompson will bounce back. Game 2 is Sunday night, 5:00 pm on ABC.