Photo Courtesy of Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group/TNS
The Golden State Warriors showed why they are in the finals and have the best record in league history, 73-9, when they beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in both of the first two games of the final series.
In Game 1 on Thursday, Golden State realized how essential every man on the team is when the star players have a slow game. Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry each had unorthodox games as the two combined for a total of only 20 points, on 8-27 for shooting.
Fortunately that was not a problem, as the Warriors’ roll players stepped up and took control. Power forward Draymond Green had 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, and shooting guard Shaun Livingston scored a team-high 20 points (8-10 FG, 4-4 FT) and added four rebounds, three assists and a steal in 27 minutes of playing time, which made it his career postseason high.
“It’s a great sign, obviously, that we can win in the finals without those two guys having big games, but it’s not really that surprising to us.
This has been our team the last couple of years,” said Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr during a press conference following the game.
Golden State lead by 9 going into the third quarter. The Cavs then closed within one point when Kevin Love drove in the lane for a score and also earned the foul with 4:36 left, which made the score 63-62.
The Warriors began to heat up as they went on to outscore the Cavs 21 to 4, with Livingston scoring 17 of the points.
“I was just being aggressive, feeding off each other’s energy,” said Livingston on his play to reporters after the game. “My midrange was going and I was trusting my game and having confidence in myself.”
The Warriors outscored the Cavs in every quarter. The bench in particular outscored Cleveland 45-10, and overall the Cavs shot only 38.1 percent the entire night. Golden State’s defense was stellar, especially Andre Iguodala on Lebron James, holding him to 23 points, as James went 9-for-21 in 41 minutes. Kyrie Irving had the game high, going 7-for-22 with 26 points in 38 minutes, but it was not enough. The Warriors overpowered the Cavs and shot 49.4 percent to secure the victory 104-89.Game 2 of the finals was filled with even more dominance for the Warriors, as they were in command mode. The impact player of the game was Green, he had 28 points, 5 three-pointers and shot 11-for-20 in 34 minutes. Green was everywhere and showed heart and tons of emotion throughout the entire game flexing and screaming after several big plays.
Coach Kerr and teammates had nothing but praise for Green during the postgame press conference, “Draymond does everything for us, he defends, when we play small he protects the rim, he does everything,” Kerr said. Teammate Thompson added, “Draymond was special with the shooting.”
It was a team effort in Game 2. With 5:36 left in the first, Bogut got a big block on James, which transitioned into a Curry three-pointer, that put the Warriors up 11-10. “We battled, everyone came ready to play tonight,” Thompson told reporters after the game.
The Warriors got going in the second quarter and ran away with the game when Green got hot and scored on a three-pointer with an assist from Thompson with 7:30 left. They went up by 15 by the end of the second quarter.
Curry got in foul trouble after he picked up his fourth foul with 8:42 left in the third, but that’s when players like Green stepped up and helped lead the team.
“With Steph having to go to the bench with foul trouble, someone has to step up and shots were coming my way,” said Green during the postgame press conference.
Golden State’s defense was smothering once again. Bogut had 5 blocks in the first seven minutes of the game and Iguodala had another fabulous night of defense restricting James from scoring in the first quarter and only allowing him to score 19 points on 7-for-17 shooting.
Kyrie Irving was also held to a miniscule 10 points in 33 minutes on the floor. The Warriors held the Cavaliers to only 77 points and won the game 110-77.
That means nothing to Curry who addressed reporters following the game, “We haven’t won anything really, I mean we took care of home court advantage, which is what we’re supposed to do, but there is still a lot of basketball left.
How we show up [in Cleveland] will be a big test for sure.” Be sure to check out our coverage of game 3 on our website.