Bench scoring proved pivotal for the Golden State Warriors as they drew first blood beating LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers, 104-89 to take Game One of the NBA Finals on Thursday at the Oracle Arena.
The trio of Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and Leandro Barbosa proved too much for the Cavaliers to handle. The three tallied for 43 points as compared to the 10 points of the Cavaliers’ bench that led James and Kyrie Irving to do the household chores carrying the load on a losing cause.
The Warriors dictated the tempo of the game with the Splash Brother Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson still trying to find their footing in the series. Livingston came off the bench and sparked the run for his team with a top score of 20 points, four rebounds and three assists to his name. Iguodala’s 12 markers, seven rebounds and six assists also shook down the Cavaliers’ battle plans completely. Barbosa, on the other hand, chipped in 11 baskets to quiet down the Cavaliers rally and give them a 1-0 lead in the scheduled best of seven series.
Livingston, who stole the spotlight from Curry and Thompson, stated that the motto “Numbers in Strength,” printed on the t-shirts worn by the people inside the arena sums up how the Warriors won the game and said that it will be their battle cry until they win the championship title.
“That’s our motto. That’s what we believe in,” Livingston said. “We pick each other up. We believe in each other and we just fight.”
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Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr were all praise for the way their bench contributed to the win and stressed that the bench would play an important part in the Finals.
“We’ve talked about our depth for the last two years. We rely on a lot of people. We play a lot of people, and we feel like we have a lot of talent on the bench that can come in and score when we need it. So it’s a great sign, obviously, that we can win in the finals without those two guys having big games, but it’s not really that surprising to us. This has been our team the last couple of years,” Kerr said.
James finished the game with 23 while Irving top scored for their team with 26 as Kevin Love tallied 17 and Tristan Thompson contributing with 11.
Game Two is set on Sunday (Monday for other countries) at the Oracle Arena while Game Three and Four will shift to Cleveland and will be back at the Oracle for Game Five.
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