OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry’s “Strength In Numbers” supporting cast made all the timely shots and all the difference for the defending champions in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
Draymond Green had 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, Shaun Livingston scored a personal postseason best of 20 and Golden State’s bench came up big as the Warriors beat LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 104-89 on Thursday night to move three wins away from a repeat title.
Curry and Splash Brother Klay Thompson? They totaled — gasp! — 20 points between them on 8-for-27 shooting, each knocking down a late 3-pointer.
It didn’t matter this time. Golden State’s bench outscored the Cavs’ reserves 45-10 in the opener of this finals rematch.
In a series with so much star power on both sides, this was a night for Livingston and fellow reserves Leandro Barbosa and Andre Iguodala. Barbosa returned from a minor back injury to shoot 5 for 5, while 2015 finals MVP Iguodala had 12 points, seven rebounds, six assists and some stingy defense on James.
James kicked off his sixth straight finals with 23 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists, but cold-shooting Cleveland went 38.1 percent from the floor. Kyrie Irving, lost to a knee injury in Game 1 last year, scored 26 points, 11 on free throws.
Iguodala showed he can handle any role — if coach Steve Kerr decides to start him or bring him off the bench. Iguodala didn’t let an aggravating, hard hit to the groin by Matthew Dellavedova derail his focus for the final quarter.
Kerr stuck with regular starter Harrison Barnes, and he delivered 13 points. Curry had 11 points, six assists and five rebounds, while Thompson scored nine points.