The Golden State Warriors ran away with Game 1 of the NBA Finals Thursday night, beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 113-91. After a breathtaking first half, Cleveland was smothered on defense in the third quarter as Golden State put on their customary show of second-half force.
Kevin Durant was on fire, putting up 38 points, eight rebounds, eight assists with zero turnovers in nearly 40 minutes. The Cavaliers opted to focus on Stephen Curry, which led to a lot of opportunities for Durant to score in the paint. He also stole LeBron James’ soul at one point:
Stephen Curry had 28 points, six rebounds, 10 assists and three steals, with six of Golden State’s made three-point shots, including his 300th in his playoff career.
Just Curry's 300th playoff 3-pointer, nbd pic.twitter.com/HmZYCQFFFJ— The Ringer (@ringer) June 2, 2017
For the Cavaliers, Kevin Love had 15 points with an impressive 21 rebounds. Meanwhile, LeBron James had 28 points, 15 rebounds, eight assists - matched with eight turnovers. He was a shocking game-low -22 on the night.
The first quarter of this game was a masterpiece. Though Klay Thompson continues to struggle on shooting, his defense was spectacular from the start, impressing from the first Cavaliers possession where he aggressively shut down Love and Kyrie Irving.
From there, it was a scintillating back and forth struggle between Durant dunks, Cavalier threes, JaVale McGee dunks followed up by a fantastic block that led to a pair of Curry threes. Andre Iguodala had a jaw dropping dunk about halfway through the quarter only to close it out with a 3-point shot to beat the buzzer.
The second quarter was more of the same, though there were struggles with missed layups. A lot of missed layups. That’s for the game as a whole, though. Neither team shot particularly well, with Golden State out-shooting Cleveland 42% to 35% on field goals. The Warriors shot 106 and made only 45. A lot of that was force-feeding Klay Thompson to try to get him rolling as he shot 3-of-16 on the night.
There was also an interesting rotation, with Brown opting to use the same resting schedule as they’ve been doing, opting to rest Curry and Durant at the same time that James was also resting, rather than taking advantage.
Durant came back in and went on a solo eight point run, though, about halfway through the quarter. This kept Cleveland from getting any closer than a six-point deficit, and the Warriors closed the half up by eight.
Worth pointing out, the Cavaliers scored 30 points in the first quarter, but only managed 60 more for the rest of the night. With the Warriors shutting them down on defense, combined with Curry and Durant going off, they hardly stood a chance of coming back. Curry had four shots from downtown in the third quarter alone.
Durant led the show in the fourth quarter, but there wasn’t much more to say as both teams emptied the benches and this one ultimately went down as a blowout.
One last note:
Warriors are the first team in NBA history to start a postseason with a 13-0 record.— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) June 2, 2017
See you all back here on Sunday night for Game 2.