OAKLAND (KRON) — After a spectacular opening period to the NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors easily dismantled the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers, 113-91.
And when I say easily, I really do mean it.
In the first quarter alone, Golden State had a handful of uncontested dunks including three for Kevin Durant who in his first finals game since 2012, and first as a Warrior, poured in 38 points on 14-26 shooting and added eight assists and eight rebounds.
Durant, however, felt the game wasn’t as simple as it may have seemed.
“It’s not easy at all,” Durant said postgame when asked on how easy his teammates make the game for him. “We have to go out there and execute — it’s hard to do that every possession.”
Many of Durant’s clear-path dunks came thanks in part to teammate Stephen Curry whose hot perimeter shooting early on had Cavaliers defenders attached to him in transition, leaving an open lane to the hoop for Durant.
Curry finished with 28 points, 10 assists and six 3-pointers but did account for half of his teams turnovers.
His team, the Warriors, had just four turnovers in the game (Curry had two) — an NBA Finals record.
This was the x-factor in the game.
Lebron James alone had eight giveaways on the night for a Cleveland team that coughed up the rock 20 times.
Despite overwhelmingly winning the turnover battle, the Warriors were outrebounded 59-50 as James and Kevin Love combined 36 boards with Love grabbing 21.
Rebounding was about the only category in the Cavaliers favor as assists, steals, fast-break points and points in the paint all were all captured by the Warriors.
Klay Thompson’s shooting woes continued as he went 3-16 from the floor along with an 0-5 showing from distance. Thankfully for the Warriors, Thompson’s defensive prowess made up for his off night, harassing every player he guarded while forcing Love and Kyrie Irving into a 1-9 shooting total with him as the primary defender.
Cavaliers big man Tristan Thompson was also off his game, grabbing an uncharacteristically low three rebounds in 22 minutes and missing his only three shots.
Should Cleveland want to keep games close, not win, but keep them close, it will have to figure out how to slow down Golden State in transition and learn that going under screens when Curry has the ball calls for a long, rainy night.
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