NBA Finals: Warriors Bench Shines In Game 1 Victory

Golden State Warriors, led by 45 points from their second unit, routed the Cleveland Cavaliers 104-89 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.


Draymond Green had a great all-round game, tallying 16 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals, besides playing lockdown defense for 40 minutes on the floor. Harrison Barnes made 6 of his 10 shots while Andre Bogut had 10 points and 3 rebounds from 15 minutes.  |Final Box Score|

Warriors superstars Stephen Curry (11 points, 4-15 FG) and Klay Thompson (9 points, 4-12 FG, playoff low 24 minutes) combined for a playoff-low 20 points but that proved to be an insignificant statistic as Shaun Livingston (20 points, 8-10 FG) and Leandro Barbosa (11 points, 5-5 FG) missed only 2 of a combined 15 shots off the bench.

Warriors carried by Shaun Livingston

Livingston, arguably Golden State’s Game 1 MVP, reminded the basketball world that Warriors were more than just about the superstars. “That’s our motto. That’s what we believe in. We pick each other up. We believe in each other and we just fight.”

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Steve Kerr, coach of Golden State, acknowledged that Curry didn’t have a great night. “Steph just had one of those nights, just wasn’t going in. He had some turnovers. It happens. 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.”

Andre Igudala, last year’s finals MVP, was once again a factor, tallying 12 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists besides excelling as the primary defender on LeBron James. Even though James was close to triple-double (23 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals), he shot 9/21 from the field and couldn’t make much of an impact in the fourth quarter.

Kyrie Irving top-scored with 26 points but hit only one of his four shots from deep. Kevin Love had a good Finals debut with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Timofey Mozgov, who played starter minutes in the previous finals, was a non-factor, playing just the final 2 minutes of a blowout defeat.

The Warriors shot nearly 50% from the field compared to Cavs’ 38. Their bench outscored the Cavs bench 45-10 in the series opener – a decisive factor in the end result. The Cavs would need to go back to the drawing board and stop the bleeding otherwise risk the possibility of Warriors running away with the series in a hurry.

Game 2 is on Sunday.