In game one, a 104-89 victory for the Golden State Warriors, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 20 points. And the score was 104-89! Yikes.
After the Warriors grabbed a 20 point lead, ignited in part by a full on Matthew Dellavedova sac-wack on Andre Igoudala, the Cavs briefly came alive. Three three-point shots in a row cut the lead to 11 with about four minutes to go.
Then LeBron got the rebound on a miss and started chugging down court, but Curry swiped the ball from him and promptly hit a three-pointer—just his third of the game.
After a Cavalier miss, Thompson pulled up and hit a rainbow jumper that the entire world knew was going to go in. In the span of 30 seconds, it went from an 11 point game and a Cavalier possession to a 17 point lead for the Warriors.
Even on a rare double off-night from the GSW backcourt, the tandem can put away a team in the blink of an eye. It is completely unprecedented, and it is utterly cruel.
Shaun Livingston was a star. He looked like a mismatch. Kyrie Irving, who took 22 shots and had only four assists, couldn’t check him. Neither could Iman Shumpert, Dellavedova or JR Smith. He finished with a clean 20 points in 26 minutes. He missed only two shots.
If you’re Cleveland, you take the podium after the game and talk about avoiding the urge to overreact. It’s just one game. It’s a long series. It’s no different from last year.
That’s fine, because they have to say that stuff.
But to get blown out in a game where Thompson and Curry scored a combined 20 points? That is not good. That is not just bad. That is concerning.
LeBron James filled the stat sheet in usual fashion—23 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists—but he didn’t shoot particularly well (9-21) and he had two big turnovers down the final stretch of the game that essentially put the game out of reach. Kevin Love was underwhelming. He scored 17 points but it took him 17 shots to do so.
JR Smith scored three points. The bench scored a combined 10 points. LeBron knows this is unacceptable, sure. But is there anything he can do about it? This isn’t Atlanta or Toronto, where an on-off button can be switched when needed.
This is Golden State, with quality players from top to bottom. Livingston was big time. Draymond Green had a vintage Draymond Green game. He finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, four steals, and a blocked shot. He was yelling, he was flopping, he was hyping up the crowd.
Anderson Varejao played three minutes that were more memorable than the entire Cleveland bench’s performance combined. Leandro Barbosa, who had a wonderful crossover on a ref, didn’t miss. He was 5 of 5.
In this game at least, Golden State’s players seemed to sense the moment. Cleveland’s team, short of LeBron, did not.
On the upside for Cleveland, this is the NBA, where game to game performances often vary wildly. Take game one of the Spurs-Thunder series, for example, when the Spurs beat OKC by some ungodly number before the Thunder went on to win in six games.
But it all goes back to that stat. Twenty points for Curry and Thompson. And they won by 15.
Image via John G. Mabanglo