Basketball Insider

Warriors Punch Cavs in the Mouth in Game 1

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Warriors Punch Cavs in the Mouth in Game 1

The Warriors ended up with a 113-91 victory, but the game never felt even that close. It was a simply dominant performance by Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and the rest of the Warriors in the initial game of the Cavs’ and Warriors’ rubber match.

Durant and Curry did the lion’s share of the damage against the shell-shocked Cavaliers. Durant put up a line of 38 points, eight boards, and eight assists, and he made it look effortless, with many of his points coming on uncontested dunks and rim-runs. His points came easily and, it seemed, unfairly.

Curry, for his part, scored 28 points, notching 10 assists and six rebounds. Curry also shot 6-of-11 from deep, hitting timely and demoralizing three-pointers to keep the Cavs at bay.

Draymond Green and Klay Thompson combined for 15 points on a meager 6-of-28 shooting, but it hardly mattered: Durant and Curry torched he Cavaliers. Everyone else got out of their way and let them fire away.

Although the Warriors are known as a jump-shooting team, they did the almost exactly half of their damage in the paint. Cleveland scored just 30 points in the paint. Golden State put up 56.

LeBron James, on the other hand, played an ugly game. The Warriors baited him into taking mid-range and three-point shots, which are decidedly not in his wheelhouse. James shot just 2-of-6 from deep. Another effect this baiting had was getting in to James’ head: once he began shooting, he began to press, and this lead to his game-high eight turnovers.

The Warriors, by contrast, tallied only four turnovers — tying an NBA Finals record.

When asked what the biggest difference between this year and last, LeBron’s answer was simple:

“KD.”

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue called the Warriors the best he’d ever seen.

Kyrie Irving scored 24 points, but it took him 24 shots to get there. Kevin Love scored 15 points and grabbed 21 boards. Tristan Thompson scored zero points and only grabbed four boards.

Simply put: it was a dominant performance by Golden State. It was the most effortless display of dominance I’ve ever witnessed in the NBA Finals.

If the Cavaliers want to make this a competitive series, they’ll have to go back to the drawing board. There is some hope, though:

Last season, before the infamous 3-1 lead slippage by the Warriors, Cleveland lost the first two games by a combined 48 points.

But then again, the Warriors didn’t have Kevin Durant then.

Game 2 will be played Sunday evening at 7 P.M. CST.

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