Kevin Durant scores 38 pointsA�as the Warriors defeated the Cavaliers 113-91 in Game 1 of 2017 NBA Finals.
With their resounding victory, the hosts sent a strong message to the reigning champions: they want their crown back. In the Cavs and Warriorsa�� third finals match-up in as many years; Golden State are hoping to take home the trophy and secure dominance in what is becoming the NBAa��s fiercest rivalry.
It was an impressive start to a�?The Trilogya�? as the clubs combined for 65 first-quarter points before a sellout crowd of 19,596; putting to rest any concerns about rust from the long break between the conference finals and the NBAa��s main event.
a�?KD didna��t settle,a�? Warriors acting head coach Mike Brown said. a�?When he had an opportunity he took it.a�?
Typically known for draining three-pointers, the Warriors only hit 11 due to several missed shots and Clevelanda��s tough perimeter defense. But where others saw a problem, Durant saw an opportunity; he had three uncontested dunks while the Cavaliers were trying to cover Curry and Thompson on the three-point line.
Durant, who also finished with eight rebounds, eight assists and zero turnovers, had six dunks inA�the first half.A�Curry, last yeara��s Most Valuable Player, added 28 points and 10 assists. After picking up two early fouls, Draymond Green played it safe on defense but contributedA�with 11 rebounds. The Warriors struggled to capitalize on rebounds, but what they did capitalize on was team chemistry; they had 31 assists, nearly double Clevelanda��s total.
The Warriors played with the same quick pace thata��s kept them unbeaten in the playoffs; earning three times the amount of fast-break points. What they lacked in three-pointers they made up for in the paint, with 56 points to Clevelanda��s 30. Bench players such as JaVale McGee and Andre Iguodala made several strong dunks; and did their best to block the big men of Cleveland.
Cleveland Defense Let Them Down
Clevelanda��s sloppy offense a�� they only shot for 35% from the floor a�� was matched by a porous defense. The team had 20 turnovers while Golden State only had four, and they allowed the Warriors to nab 50 rebounds.
a�?They capitalized on our mistakes,a�? Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving admitted.
Despite the loss, LeBron James passed Reggie Miller to move into second on the list of three-pointers made in the playoffs. Last yeara��s NBA finals MVP carried his team with 28 points and 15 rebounds. Kyrie Irving had 24 points and Kevin Love had 15 points on 4-of-13 shooting and 21A�rebounds for Cleveland.
a�?Having 20 turnovers and not being able to get back and get your defense set, they really take advantage of that, especially at home, And they thrive off turnovers and getting out in transition.a�?
The Warriors may have won the battle, but the Cavaliers still think they can win the war. They lost the first game of the finals last year, too, and we all remember how that turned out.
a�?Theya��re playing good basketball,a�? said head coach Tyronn Lue, a�?but we can play better.a�?
The Cavaliers have a few days to draw up some new plays and prove it. Game 2 of the best-of-seven-games series is Sunday evening at Oracle Arena.