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NBA PLAYOFFS The rest was best

Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala, right, reaches for the ball against Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James during the first half of Game 1 of basketball's NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, June the 2bd, 2016.

As bad as things went for the Cavaliers in Game 1, there was a sense of calm at practice Friday.

Shaun Livingston scored a career playoffs-high 20 points and Andre Iguodala and Leandro Barbosa contributed 12 and 11 points, respectively. In addition, that's when Shaun Livingston happened. All of their ROI scores improved. However, when Cleveland made its comeback in Game 1 and took the lead in the third quarter, it played a faster tempo. He is about to reach a plateau in scoring, rebounding and assists that only Oscar Robertson has reached. He was drafted by the Warriors in 2012 and is in the last year of a four-year rookie contract, earning an annual average of $2.2 million.

Curry and Thompson were 4 for 13 from 3-point range and the two-time MVP turned the ball over five times, but the Cavs succumbed to a tide they never saw coming.

In Thursday's loss, Kyrie Irving lead the team with 26 points. So his ROI placed him at #15.

On a night when Curry and Thompson didn't reach double figures until late in the game, the Warriors' substitutes outscored the Cavaliers' 45-10.

The Cavaliers' historic three-point shooting from Rounds 1-3 was absent, with J.R. Smith, Channing Frye and Iman Shumpert failing to make much impact from the outside. It's easy to write off the bench play in Game 1 as an anomaly, and it was to a certain extent, but it's an area in which the Warriors have a clear advantage. They've now dropped six in a row to Golden State, dating back to last year's Finals. The game peaked from 10:45-11 p.m. EDT with 22,610,000 viewers and a 12.9 rating.

However, James knows this series is just getting started, and the Cavaliers had the Warriors and raucous Oracle Arena a little nervous when they jumped ahead in the third quarter while Curry and Thompson flailed away.

"Don't matter what you do with Steph and Klay, don't matter what you do with Draymond (Green)", James said. And despite the final, 15-point bulge, Cleveland was in the game until the fourth quarter and, perhaps, the Cavaliers would have fared better had they scored more than 13 points on 16 second-chance shots.

Cleveland's offense was predictable, and one-dimensional, and it didn't have the uninterrupted flow that Golden State's had, which allowed the Warriors to plug in big games from guys like Livingston and Green when Curry and Thompson weren't feeling it. It seems counterintuitive to play that style against the Warriors, who thrive in an up-tempo game. They'll look to rebound in Game 2 on Sunday night. "With us, I think that's our missed opportunities and we were just really, really rushing".

"I missed some shots and didn't get in a rhythm, but the way that they defended, we'll be able to find some adjustments for Game 2", Curry said.

 

 



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