On Thursday the Golden State Warriors mounted a comeback, primarily with their bench players, to take game one of the NBA Finals away from the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers led much of the game and they kept Golden State’s two best shooters, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, from scoring 20 points or more. Conventional wisdom would suggest that should be enough to win the game, but it was not.
As the Warriors have proven all season, they are a complete team with a deep bench. The second team came through big for Golden State, scoring 45 points. In the fourth quarter Andre Igoudala, Harrison Barnes ( starter), Shaun Livingston and Draymond Green (another starter) put the team on their backs and carried it to a win over the Cavaliers. They had seven players score in double digits, with Livingston getting the high score for the Warriors with his 20 points.
When the second half started Cleveland was ahead by nine points, but the Warriors began chipping away at the lead. When the fourth quarter started Golden State was leading by six.
Cleveland had a good night, but it wasn’t good enough. Igoudala came in off the bench and played a key role in slowing down LeBron James. And Kyrie Irving had the unenviable task of covering Steph Curry. On the flip side, Curry had to deal with Irving, who held the MVP to just 11 points all night. Irving also scored 26 points.
Cleveland had four of their starters score in double digits, but their bench didn’t produce the way their opponents’ bench did.
In the second half the Warriors were just too strong for the Cavaliers.
Game two gets under way at Oracle Arena in Oakland tonight (5 p.m. local time) and the keys for Cleveland will be more production from their bench (they only scored 10 points Thursday) and Kyrie Irving has to contain Curry once again while still scoring 25-30 points.
LeBron James will need to continue what he did on Thursday, when he had 23 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.
If the Warriors’ bench performs like they did in game one and Curry and Thompson get on track, it will be a very steep hill for the Cavaliers.
The fans at Oracle Arena tonight will get a T-shirt that says “Strength In Numbers.” The Warriors have proven it isn’t just a slogan.
Photos by Claudia Gestro
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