Warriors 113, Cavs 91: Player ratings
His first double-double of the 2017 postseason could not have come at a better time. Steph may have out-done his regular season averages in assists and points but that only tells half the story. The point guard was accountable for the bulk of Durant's first-half scoring as his mere presence on the perimeter split the Cavs' defence and allowed for KD to attack the basket at will. The two-time MVP was dialed in from range, shooting over 50% on his 11 attempts, including some classic Curry moments as he pulled up from mind-boggling range. Often an underrated defender he managed three steals. A classic Stephen Curry performance.
There’s no doubt about it, Klay Thompson is in an offensive slump. 3-16 from the field and 0-5 from deep. We are still waiting for that vintage Thompson performance in the playoffs. The shooting guard missed a number of layups in the first half and looked a shadow of his usual self. However, on the defensive end, he was incredible. It's no wonder Klay is considered one of the best defensive guards in the league. Hounding and harassing the Cavs all night, Thompson forced Kyrie Irving and JR Smith into a number of tough shots. His defensive effort is obviously affecting his offence. But with Steph and KD, the superstar-level defence is enough.
This is what it’s all about for Kevin Durant. This is why he signed with the Golden State Warriors. Game one was all about KD. 38 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists on 53.8% shooting from the field. It was the typically efficient performance we have come to expect from the 28-year-old. Whenever Cleveland looked like making a comeback, it was Durant who stepped up with a clutch play. On defence, he was part of a team that forced a huge number of turnovers from the Cavaliers and his ability to draw a charging foul on LeBron was a perfect example of his desire to leave it all on the court. In the first half, he took full advantage of Cleveland’s fear of Curry to record six dunks in the first half - the highest number in his playoff career.
Nine points, two steals and a block. It was a performance typical of Draymond Green this season. Always willing to do the dirty work, Draymond did not pick up his first points until the final two minutes of the third quarter. At that point the Warriors were up by 22, that tells you everything you need to know. Often the glue that holds the Dubs together, Green was vital in nullifying the rebounding impact of Tristan Thompson and showed his usual energy on both sides of the ball. It's what we've come to expect from Green.
Played fewer minutes than his regular season average but scored more points and matched his rebounding tally. Zaza Pachulia's night was summed up by two acrobatic circus shots that wouldn't look out of place in a Stephen Curry or Kyrie Irving compilation. The Georgian spent a lot of time on the bench as Mike Brown rode with a small ball lineup. But Zaza can be happy with his performance.
Not the strongest performance by Shaun Livingston. His usually reliable mid-range jumper was not in effect as the guard went 1-5 from the field for two points. Despite only notching two dimes, Livingston's ability to move the ball helped the Warriors tick over throughout the night.
In his first meaningful taste of NBA Finals action, Ian Clark played his role in the rotation and nothing more. Another player who was unable to find his jumper, missing all three attempts from behind the arc. His four points are down on the season average, but when you have KD and Steph in such form you don't need 20 points from Clark.
Injury? What Injury? Andre Iguodala was back to his very best. All of the praise will go to the star duo, but Iggy put in a solid performance off the bench and made the most of what he was given. He shot 75% on his four attempts, matched his season averages in scoring and rebounding and added two steals and a block to his stat line in 24 minutes of action. Named 2015 Finals MVP for his defence of LeBron James, Iguodala showed he is ready to do it all again in 2017. Another unsung Warriors hero.
Not a single steal for Kyrie Irving. Not a single steal for the Cavaliers during 48 minutes of NBA Finals basketball. He was held below his season average scoring total and was unable to influence the game with his passing or defence. The Cleveland backcourt was emphatically beaten by the Warriors and Irving was successfully shut down in the second half. There were moments of brilliance, such his four-point play after a foul from Thompson, however, he struggled to shake the defence of Golden State's All-Star shooting guard.
A complete non-factor in game one. He only took four shots, making one, and failed to register a single rebound, assist or steal. Never expected to be a regular scorer, Smith was disappointing as he contributed three points to the 23 scored outside of LeBron, Kyrie and Love. There's the problem right there. Smith is a streaky shooter. He can catch fire at any moment, but without offence, he isn't the same presence on defence as his opposite number, Thompson.
Holding LeBron James to close to his regular season points total is a job well done for the Warriors. Forcing James into eight turnovers - double his regular season average - is one of the main reasons the Dubs were able to wrap this one up early. James is always going to get his points, but his 45% clip on 20 attempts is far below what we've come to expect from the King. Durant and Green did an excellent job of unsettling James, and a lack of support from his teammates led to a frustrating night in the Bay Area. It’s pretty clear after one game that James can’t do it on his own this year.
With Tristan Thompson struggling to impose himself at Oracle Arena, Kevin Love was able to tally a huge number of rebounds. Adding 15 points is a solid night for the former Minnesota man. However, his 30% shooting from the field will come as a disappointment. The Cavs as a whole struggled with their shooting - going 34.9%. Love will be ruing his missed opportunities, but his performance has some positives to take into game two.
No points, only four rebounds. A performance Tristan Thompson will want to banish from his memory sooner rather than later. He pulled down three offensive boards but never has the undersized center been so lost in a game. He was unable to stop the Warriors in transition as they clocked up numerous points at the basket and he looked completely out of his comfort zone as was forced into switches that saw him defending Curry on the perimeter. A strange one for TT.
Left to ride the bench for large portions of the game, Iman Shumpert played significantly fewer minutes than his regular season average. He was 2-6 from the field and 1-3 from deep during his time on the court. Tyronn Lue opted to roll with Kyrie and JR for most of the game to try and stop Curry. It didn’t work. But Shumpert couldn’t provide much help.
Another Cavaliers player who struggled to find his range, ending the game without troubling the scorers' table. He took four attempts from the field and two from deep but was unable to get the lid off the basket. Much to think about ahead of game two.
Kyle Korver is not the same clinical shooter he was during his prime in Atlanta, but to not connect with a single basket will be a disappointment to all involved with the Cavaliers. Often considered one of the best three-point shooters in history, Korver missed all three of his shots - all from behind the arc.
The only Cleveland bench player who can be happy with his performance. Richard Jefferson made the most of his time on the court, outdoing his season averages in scoring and rebounding despite playing fewer minutes. He did all that was asked of him, even attempting to defend Kevin Durant when required by Lue.