Cavaliers Look To Even NBA Finals Against High-Flying Warriors

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OAKLAND (CBSMiami/Gracenote) – The NBA Finals began the way that many fans expected.

The Golden State Warriors sent a harsh message to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 and will try to take a 2-0 lead in the series when they host Game 2 on Sunday.

The Warriors thrashed the Cavaliers 113-91 in Thursday’s opener as Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry had little trouble navigating the Cleveland defense.

Durant is making his first Finals appearance since losing to LeBron James and the Miami Heat as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012, and he certainly looked right at home in his return trip with 38 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and zero turnovers in the win.

“To have a game like that when he’s playing that way, it’s tough to beat,” Golden State forward Draymond Green told reporters. “Thirty-eight, eight, eight, zero turnovers? I mean that’s — we’re real tough to beat when he’s doing that. … We’re going to seek him out, get him the ball, and guys got to defend him. He was amazing (in Game 1), and I expect nothing less in the rest of the games.”

The Cavaliers lost Game 1 at Golden State last spring and fell down 3-1 before coming back to win the series, and James is not panicking.

“Just get focused on Game 2,” James told reporters. “We made a lot of mistakes. There’s nothing really needs to be said. We know we’re capable of playing a lot better. We didn’t play as well as we know we’re capable of, so we look forward to the next one.”

TV: 8 p.m. ET, ABC

ABOUT THE CAVALIERS: Cleveland imported talent during the regular season in an effort to get James the help he desired but point guard Deron Williams, shooting guard Kyle Korver and power forward Derrick Williams combined to go scoreless on 0-of-9 shooting off the bench in Game 1.

James contributed 28 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists but also committed eight of the team’s 20 turnovers.

“I know we will play better,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue told reporters. “When we’re not making shots and they get off in transition off of rebounds and stuff like that, they’re tough to guard. So, I know we can play better. We will play better.”

ABOUT THE WARRIORS: Golden State committed just four turnovers in the romp and pulled away easily despite All-Stars Green (3-of-12) and Klay Thompson (3-of-16, 0-of-5 from 3-point range) enduring tough shooting nights in the opener.

Durant (14-of-26) and Curry (11-of-22, 10 assists) picked up the scoring slack while the team defensive effort held Cleveland to 34.9 percent shooting.

“Our defensive effort allowed us to work through that struggle on the offensive end and keep a lead and just build the flow up,” Curry said during an ESPN interview. “As the game went on we got more comfortable, shots started to fall and the ball was hopping, and that’s the formula for us to be successful against this Cavs team. We have to defend, try to make it tough, knowing they have great scorers.”

BUZZER BEATERS

  1. The Warriors are 13-0 in the playoffs and are trying to become the first team to go through the postseason undefeated.
  2. Cleveland’s 91 points on Thursday marked the first time it scored fewer than 108 points this postseason.
  3. Golden State head coach Steve Kerr did not coach Game 1 but reportedly could return for Game 2.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Gracenote contributed to this report.)

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