Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, US
Oracle Arena in Oakland, California was the sight for game 1 of the NBA Finals. The Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 104- 89, to take a 1-0 lead in the best of seven series. Warriors now have six consecutive victories against the Cavs.
Shaun Livingston was the leading scorer for the Warriors. Livingston scored 20 points, making 8 of 10 field goal attempts, in 26 minutes. Livingston’s night also included zero turnovers, four rebounds, 3 assist, and a steal. NBA MVP Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson struggled to score only 20 points combined to make 8-27 field .
“He’s got this quiet confidence about him,” Thompson said when talking about Livingston. “He knows how good he is.”
The biggest key to Golden States victory was the play of their substitution players. Cleveland’s subs were outscored 45-10, in game 1, three of the Warriors bench players scored in double digits.
“We play a lot of people, and we feel like we have a lot of talent on the bench that can come in and score when we need it,” coach Steve Kerr said after the game.
Along with Livingston, Andre Iguodala scored 12 points with 7 rebounds and 6 assist. Leandro Barbosa added 11 points to the Warriors total, while four players for the Cavs could only manage 10 points.
“They got to the point where they were last year and won a championship because of their whole team and their bench,” LeBron James said. “And they’re here once again in the Finals because of their whole team. So nothing has really changed.”
James ended his night one assist shy of a triple double. James played the games most minutes (40:53), and scored 23 points with 12 rebounds and 9 assist. Guard Kyrie Irving was Cleveland’s leading scorer with 26 points.
Substitution players and defense for the Warriors saved their team from a disappointing night, from the two teams star players. Curry and Thompson not only struggled to score, but Curry only made things worse with five turnovers.
Livingston was really a big help for the Warriors, he can really be a match-up nightmare for the Cavs. Livingston stands 6’7 inches tall, and the Cavs tallest defensive guards, are Irving and Matthew Dellavedova. Each who stand just 6’3 and 6’4 receptively.
“I think I took the same shots last series,” Livingston said, “but it’s just staying confident in my shot, understanding my game, where the shots are going to come from and trusting it.”
The Cavs are still struggling to find additional scoring, J.R. Smith only took three shots and scored just 3 points. Cavs need Smith to score more than that in 26 minutes, but he could use some help from Irving. Irving totaled just four assist and wasted a lot of possessions, running down the court without passing.
Channing Frye has played big for the Cavs since they acquired him late in the regular season, but Frye only played seven minutes with one shot attempt. Cleveland is going to need a good shooting performance from other players not named James or Irving.
“When you’re outscored 45-10 in bench points and give up 25 points off turnovers, you’re not winning that game,” James said.
On the Bright side for the Cavs Kevin Love, played a really effective game. Love scored 17 points with 13 rebounds. If Love can continue to give that effort and shoot a high feild goal percentage (7-17), the Cavs could win game 2. Love had 11 defensive rebounds, but he has been known to put up some crazy rebounds numbers in the past. If Cavs are looking for more offensive production, Love could be the answer.
Game 2: Preview
The Cavs, need to make take more shots. Golden State has too many willing shooters, and the Cavs can’t have shooters like Smith and Frye taking four shots combined. Cleveland did win the rebounding battle against Golden State, combined with Thompson and Curry poor shooting. They must take advantage of those few opportunities, and need to find sub players who can score.
Irving must step up on both ends, his 26 points did not have much impact, especially when James was struggling in the second quarter. Irving posses quick hands, and is athletic enough to force Curry into turnovers. Question is, will he be willing to commit that portion of his game, that has been lacking.
Curry and Thompson can’t afford another poor shooting night, which is good news for the Warriors. They are willing shooters who don’t lose confidence. When Curry and Thompson get hot from the field, the Warriors are unbeatable. Game 2 will be in the Oracle Arena.
Golden State 100 – Cleveland 97