NBA Finals: Warriors Overcome Shaky Start, Beat Cavaliers in Game 1 Thriller

By Vincent Frank

The Golden State Warriors overcame a questionable start to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-100 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night.

They also overcame a playoff career-high 44 points from LeBron James in the dramatic win.

Golden State fell down by 14 points in the first quarter, mainly due to a horrendous shooting performance that saw the Western Conference champions make just 4-of-20 shots from the field. Steve Kerr’s second unit then stepped up big time in the second stanza, ultimately helping the Warriors pull to within three at the half.

Back and forth the teams went in the second half. King James was pretty much Cleveland’s offense after halftime, continually posting up against a multitude of defenders that the Warriors threw his way. He responded by dominating the post and putting the team on his back.

Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, others just couldn’t step up when the team needed them the most. J.R. Smith did not score in the second half, finishing just 3-of-13 from the field. All said, he was the only bench player to put up a single point for Cleveland. For all intents and purposes, it was LeBron and nobody else for David Blatt’s squad.

Led by 34 points from its bench, Golden State overcame nerves and sloppy early play to set the tone for the remainder of the series in the second half. Its defense played exceptional basketball as the game moved forward, especially in an overtime stanza that saw Cleveland score just two points on 1-of-10 shooting.

Stephen Curry led a balanced scoring attack with 26 points. Klay Thompson added 22, while Andre Iguodala went for 15 off the bench.

With the game tied in the last seconds of regulation, Cleveland went back to its patented isolation game with LeBron, but Iguodala stood up and played some great defense, forcing James into a tough fade-away. After Iman Shumpert nearly nailed a corner three from the baseline as time expired, the game headed to overtime.

As we mentioned above, Cleveland scored just two points in that additional stanza. Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, Kyrie Irving also pulled up limp towards the end of the game and didn’t return. He was seen with a noticeable limp after suffering what looked like a knee injury. His status for Game 2 is obviously yet to be determined.

Game 2 will be on Sunday at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC.

Photo: USA Today Sports