FULL HIGHLIGHTS: Cavs Come Out Sluggish Offensively, Fall In Game 1; 89-104
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The Golden State Warriors pulled away in the fourth quarter tonight to take game one of the NBA Finals by the score of 104-89. The game was defined by a 21-4 run in the fourth quarter, with most of the damage coming from the Warriors bench players. The Cavs, throughout the entire game, were physical with sharpshooters Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, holding them to a season-low 20 points combined. The Warriors, however, put six other players in double-figures, with three of them coming off the bench. Backup point guard Shaun Livingston led the team in scoring with 20 points, and last year’s Finals MVP Andre Iguodala contributed 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists. For the Cavs, Kyrie Irving led the way with 26 points, but only shot 7-22 from the floor. LeBron James finished one assist shy of a triple-double, with 23 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.
The Cavalier’s bench – Matthew Dellavedova, Channing Frye, Richard Jefferson, Iman Shumpert – came into the game as one of the best second units in the 2016 playoffs, but were ineffective tonight. That group combined for just 10 points on 3-10 shooting for the game, while the Golden State bench scored 45 points to carry the Warriors while Curry and Thompson struggled.
The second string for the Warriors actually made a run in the first half to build some separation from the Cavs as well. In the middle of the second quarter the Warriors went on a 12-1 run to take a 14-point lead. Most of the damage was done by Leandro Barbosa, who scored seven points during the run. The Cavs clawed their way back into the game and cut the lead to six at one point, but settled being down by nine at 52-43. The Big Three of James, Irving and Kevin Love were all in double-figures at the half, but the rest of the team could only combine for nine first-half points. The Cavs shot a combined 15-42 from the field in the first half, and just 4-13 from beyond the arc.
The three-point shot has been such a weapon in the playoffs for the Cavs this year, but it abandoned them tonight as they finished just 7-21 from long range. JR Smith, who broke the Cavs team record this season for three-pointers made, appeared to injure his hand diving for a loose ball in the first quarter and would later have it wrapped to prevent further injury. For the game, he was almost non-existent, shooting just 1-3 from the floor and committing five fouls.
Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson finished with double-doubles, with Love scoring 17 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in his first ever NBA Finals game. Thompson scored 10 points and finished with 12 rebounds.
Game two is Sunday night in Oakland. The Cavs will need a much better effort from their bench if they want to steal home court advantage with a win on Sunday. They’ll also need to sharpen their focus on defense because, for all of the success that they had in containing Curry and Thompson, the coverage on the rest of the Warriors was lacking. Hopefully those are adjustments that they can make to be ready on Sunday.
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