The NBA Finals are finally here. The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors are back at it again. The Warriors were really challenged during the playoffs while the Cavs only lost two games during their run in the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers are healthy but the Warriors are a record setting team.
The first quarter was very efficient for both teams. Kevin Love plays better when he knocks down his first shot and he opened the game with a corner 3-pointer. LeBron James continued to attack the paint as he was 4-5 from the field; all layups. When Andre Iguodala entered the game the Cavaliers did a good job of rescreening to get him off of LeBron.
The Warriors were led by Harrison Barnes who shot 3-4 for seven points in the first quarter. The ball movement was great by the Warriors who kept beating the Cavaliers on cuts to the basket. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson only combined for six points in the quarter.
In terms of 3-pointers the Warriors were 3-7 and the Cavs were 2-6. Golden State had nine assists on 12 made baskets while the Cavs had four assists on 10 made baskets. The Warriors led 28-24 after the first quarter.
LeBron started the 2nd quarter with the 2nd unit. They were not able to get anything going because the Warriors went with Draymond at center. LeBron did not hit a field goal in the 2nd quarter although he continued to attack the basket. The Warriors did a good job contesting his shots without fouling. He took nine shots but only one from outside the paint.
The Warriors were carried by their bench unit. They outscored the Cavs bench 15-5 in the half. Leandro Barbosa and Shaun Livingston outscored the Splash Brothers 13-10 in the first half. Barbosa was 3-3 including two tough finishes over Dellavedova. Livingston was able to get to his spots and rise up for shots.
Golden State went on a run to push the lead to double digits. Klay Thompson picked up his 3rd foul with six minutes left in the quarter and sat down with only four points on 2-5 shooting. Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut led the way in terms of scoring for the Warriors while Draymond Green had eight points, six rebounds and five assists.
Despite 3-12 shooting Kyrie Irving was able to get to the line seven times and led all scorers with 13 points. J.R. Smith only took one shot in the half. LeBron had 11 points and Love had 10 points. Cleveland did a good job on the offensive glass grabbing nine offensive rebounds in the half. The frontline of the Cavaliers grabbed 21 rebounds compared to only nine for the Warriors. Golden State led at the half 52-43.
Cleveland’s defense did a bad job of communicating to start the quarter as they gave up some easy layups to the Warriors. The Cavs quickly responded with a 7-0 run to cut the lead to four points. Kyrie Irving scored seven points in the quarter while Kevin Love added five points.
After falling asleep on the defensive end the Cavs picked up their intensity and were able to grab the lead at 64-63. There were six lead changes in the quarter. Golden State responded at the end of the quarter with a 7-0 run to push the lead to 74-68 at the end of the 3rd quarter.
Steph Curry and Klay Thompson continued to struggle as they were a combined 6-21 entering the 4th quarter. Off the ball the Cavs were doing a good job of pushing Curry around.
To start the 4th the Warriors went with Harrison Barnes and four bench players. That lineup continued the Warriors run and pushed the lead to 14 points. The bench scored 13 of the 15 points during the run. The quarter was owned by the Warriors who pushed their lead to 20 points.
Shaun Livingston tied a career playoff high with 20 points on 8-10 shooting. If it wasn’t for two late 3-pointers from each Splash Brother he would have outscored the duo. The 20 points was the lowest combined score for the Splash Brothers this season. Golden State had seven players score in double figures.
After starting 4-5 from the field, LeBron James finished just 9-21 from the field. He added 12 rebounds and nine assists but he missed a lot of contested layups. Irving led all scorers with 26 points on 7-22 shooting. He was able to get to the line 12 times which was more than the entire Warriors team. Kevin Love had a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Their bench unit only took 10 shots.
Cleveland tried to rally late in the 4th cutting the lead to 11 but 3-pointers from Steph and Klay pushed the lead back up to 17. The Warriors bench outscored the Cavs bench 45-10. The Cavs won the rebounding battle and had 15 offensive rebounds but the Warriors had 29 assists on 43 made baskets. Golden State only had nine turnovers while the Cavs had 15.
The others came through for the Warriors this game as the Splash Brothers shot a combined 8-27. Cleveland has to bring the defensive intensity they had during their run in the 3rd quarter. They did a good job of getting to the line and shot 18-20 while the Warriors only attempted 10 free throws. Neither team dominated from 3-point land. Golden State took game 1 just like they did last season, 104-89.
Game 2 will be Sunday at 8 pm.