Game 1 of the highly anticipated matchup between the Warriors and the Cavaliers is in the books. The Warriors smacked the Cavaliers 104-89.
While the vaunted Golden State backcourt was relatively quiet, going a combined 8-27 for 20 points, 11 from Curry and 9 from Thompson, was their bench that came up big scoring 45 points. Sean Livingston accounted for 20 of them on what seemed to a never ending hail of midrange jumpers.
The Cavaliers’ big three of James, Irving and Love went 23-60 for 66 points. J.R. Smith was invisible only scoring 3 points in his 36 minutes of action and hoisting only 3 shots. No bench players scored more than three points, as the Cleveland bench scored a whopping 10 points. Their 17 turnovers led to 25 Warrior points.
The Cavaliers are also going to have to get others involved offensively, as I noticed many possessions that devolved into 1-on-1 ( see Irving, Kyrie possessions) with the other Cleveland players becoming spectators. More player and ball movement and player could get not only Irving,James and Love but the other players who they will desperately need contributions from if they want to compete in, much less win this series. Kevin Love should post up more. This is a grossly underutilized aspect of his game, and the few occasions he did in game one, he was mostly successful. They will also have to shore up their interior defense, you cannot give up 54 points in the paint and expect to win. Timofey Mozgof has not seen the light of day, but he may need to see some time to help inside.
Curry and Thompson won’t shoot 8-27 for the duration of the series, so the Warriors shouldn’t be concerned about that. Harrison Barnes’ offensive contributions was a bright spot, but he did struggle guarding Lebron. Draymond Green played his usual Swiss Army knife game, compiling totals of 12 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals and a blocked shot. He, along with Andre Iguodala, played solid defense on Lebron James. If the Cavaliers are going to continue to play the Love/Thompson frontcourt for extended periods, Golden State should continue to look to score in the painted area, as this duo offers little in the way of rim protection.
If Cleveland doesn’t make some adjustments, this could be a short series.