With Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson’s anemic offense, the Warriors’ bench stepped up big time to score a 104-89 Game 1 win in their best-of-seven Finals rematch against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday at the Oracle Arena (Friday, Manila time).
The defending champions’ reserves combined for 45 points, outscoring their counterpart that only had 10.
The Cavs’ game plan almost worked as they effectively put some shackles on the scoring duo of Curry and Thompson, who struggled from the field with a combined 8-of-27 shooting. Curry finished with a paltry 11 points, while Thompson had nine markers. Fortunately, they got some help from the bench.
“Steph just had one of those nights, just wasn't going in. He had some turnovers. It happens," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. ``Even the best players in the world have bad nights. But it didn't hurt us, because of our bench and our overall play with our defensive effort and taking care of the ball."
Coming off the bench, Shaun Livingston registered 20 points, and Leandro Barbosa tallied 11 points on a perfect 5-for-5 mark from the field. Last year’s finals MVP Andre Iguodala had 12 points, while Draymond Green had 16 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists. With their heroics, Golden State was able to build a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Kyrie Irving led the Cavaliers with 26. LeBron James added 23 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists, while Kevin Love posted 17 markers and 13 boards in the loss.
The Cavs won the rebounding battle, 56-43, but the Warriors had better ball movement that led to 29 assists as compared to Cleveland’s 17. They also shot close to 50 percent from the field.
James and company will try to make some key adjustments to be able to bounce back in Game 2 on Sunday (Monday, Manila) still at the Oracle Arena. Games 3 and 4 will be next played in Cleveland, while the last three games (if necessary) are split based on the 2-2-1-1-1 format.