BOSTON (CBS) — The Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers just got a rude awakening in Oakland. The Golden State Warriors blew out the defending NBA champions 113-91 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals to take early control of the series.
Kevin Durant led the way for Golden State, scoring 38 points (14-for-26 shooting) with eight rebounds and eight assists. The Warriors’ prized free agent signing did not disappoint in his first trip to the NBA Finals since 2012, consistently getting to the rim and often throwing down uncontested dunks. Stephen Curry backed Durant up with 28 points of his own, including six three-pointers.
LeBron James, meanwhile, was his usual brilliant self for the Cavs with 28 points, 15 rebounds, and eight assists, but the Cavs’ defense simply could not stop the Warriors’ offense on the other end. The Warriors could have blown out the Cavs by even more if not for an uncharacteristically poor shooting night for Klay Thompson, who scored just six points on 3-for-16 shooting.
The Warriors also played excellent team defense for most of the game, as exemplified by this sequence from the third quarter when they were already up 16 points:
The Cavs will certainly need to figure out their defense if they want to have a remote chance at tying the series in Game 2, let alone a chance at winning the series against the favored Warriors. Turnovers were also a significant issue for Cleveland, who committed 20 as a team to just four for Golden State. LeBron had eight turnovers alone.
There’s still time in the NBA Finals for the Cavs to potentially pull the upset, but they’ll need to improve upon their Game 1 performance in a hurry.