After a weeklong layoff, the NBA playoffs resumed Thursday at Oracle Arena with Kevin Durant reminding everyone why Golden State made him such a priority in free agency last offseason.
The Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 113-91 in Game 1 of the best-of-seven NBA Finals behind 38 points from Durant in the third straight championship matchup between these two teams.
It was an impressive start to “The Trilogy” as the clubs combined for 65 first-quarter points, putting to rest any concerns about rust from the long break between the conference finals and the NBA’s main event.
Durant, who finished with eight rebounds, eight assists and zero turnovers, had six dunks in the first half, driving and getting out in transition to take advantage of Cleveland’s mission to run the Warriors’ shooters off the 3-point line.
It was a completely different feeling inside Oracle Arena on Thursday compared to how last season’s Finals ended, with Cleveland coming back from a 3-1 series deficit to win a close Game 7. The Warriors led by as many as 24 and weren’t challenged in the second half.
Stephen Curry had 28 points and 10 assists to complement Durant and make up for a poor shooting night from Klay Thompson. While Thompson gave an excellent defensive effort, he went 3 of 16 for six points and wasn’t a factor offensively.
“Give Klay Thompson a ton of credit,” Warriors assistant coach Mike Brown said, “because he’s out there fighting over screens, getting hit, trying to contest, trying to rebound, trying to do it all for us defensively.”
LeBron James was brilliant as usual, posting 28 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists, but he didn’t get much help from the Cavs’ reserves, who combined for 21 points on 6-of-24 shooting. Turnovers piled up for James in the second half and he finished with eight while struggling to create a spark for the Cavs. Cleveland shot 34.9 percent for the game and 35.5 percent from 3-point range.
Kyrie Irving had 24 points and Kevin Love had 15 points on 4-of-13 shooting and 21 rebounds for Cleveland.
The Warriors led 60-52 at halftime, thanks to Durant’s 23 first-half points, and outrebounded Cleveland on the offensive glass 11-7.
Source: Joe Garza| Yahoo