OAKLAND -- The Cavs held Stephen Curry to just 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting. They stopped Klay Thompson, limiting him to nine points on 4-for-12 shooting.
The Splash Brothers looked more like the Splat Brothers...but it still didn’t matter.
Golden State used a late run to man-handle the Cavs. They pushed their lead to as many as 20 in the fourth quarter, before coming away with the 104-89 victory in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
Demoralizing? Embarrassing? Or maybe this is just how the Warriors win.
“Their bench came in and did a great job,” coach Tyronn Lue said. “We took LeBron out toward the end of that third quarter, and a couple of minutes in the fourth, and the game kind of got away from us.”
James sat with 34 seconds remaining in the third and the Cavs trailing 71-68. Iguodala buried a 3-ball to extend the Warriors lead to six heading to the fourth and then all hell broke loose.
By the time LeBron returned to the contest at the 9:37 mark of the final frame, the Warriors, led mostly by their second unit, had pushed the lead to 14 and stolen all of the momentum.
Golden State’s bench dominated the Cavs, outscoring their opposition by a margin of 45-10. Shaun Livingston lit up Cleveland for 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting. He found a soft spot in the middle of the Cavs zone and hit one jumper after another.
“Just his length, being 6-7” and no matter what you try to put in front of him, he’s always going to be bigger at the point guard position,” Lue added.
Lue mixed and matched every combination possible, but it didn’t matter. Once Livingston got hot, the 10-year vet couldn’t be stopped.
“Obviously the game ball goes to Shaun Livingston,” James said. “Came in, gave them a huge spark. But don't matter what you do with Steph and Klay, don't matter what you do with Draymond. Give up 45 points off the bench and 25 points off turnovers on the road, it's not a good ingredient to win.”
It wasn’t just Livingston off the bench. Leandro Barbosa managed to score 11 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting in just 11 minutes of action. Andre Iguodala added 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists with the second team, while providing a major defensive presence.
In all, seven Warriors scored in double-figures, as they combined to shoot 49.4 percent from the field.
The Cavs were in no mood to talk following the game. Even James was short with the media during his postgame press conference. His team came in with a plan and the Warriors ran them over. It’s a tough way to start a seven game series, but it’s also just one game.
“Well, we've got to be much better in Game 2, obviously,” the superstar forward said. “I think defensively we had a game plan and we followed it as much as possible. Well, as great as we could for 48 minutes. We had some breakdowns, which we know we can get better with.”
It’s back to the drawing board for the Cavs. The Warriors stole a game away without hardly any production from their stars. The two teams will go back at it on Sunday afternoon in what should be a spirited Game 2.