CLEVELAND -- The Golden State Warriors certainly came out like a team ready to erase the memory of and eliminate the sting from losing last year’s NBA Finals after building a 3-1 lead on the Cleveland Cavaliers, only to be on the wrong side of an historic comeback.
On the strength of 38 points, eight rebounds and eight assists from small forward Kevin Durant and 28 to go along with 10 helpers from point guard Stephen Curry, the Warriors fought their way to a 113-91 victory over the Cavaliers in Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California Thursday night.
But despite the Game 1 setback, it is a best-of-seven series, and the Cavaliers are focused on turning the tide and taking a 1-1 tie back to Cleveland for Game 3 next Wednesday night.
“There's no time to be disappointed,” point guard Kyrie Irving said. “I think that (it’s) just thinking about the next game, things that we can correct going forward. They capitalized a lot on our mistakes, a lot of transition, easy baskets that we can't allow going into Game 2.
“Definitely a lot of things we can correct and get better at, watch film and go from there.”
Winning the games within the game has been a strength of the Cavaliers throughout the 2017 NBA Playoffs, but the opposite was true against the Warriors, who won every situational scoring category in the Game 1 win over Cleveland.
Thanks to several wide-open dunks from small forward Kevin Durant, the Warriors outpaced the Cavaliers, 56-30, in the paint. Also, the Warriors outscored the Cavaliers, 18-13, in second-chance situations, and, 27-9, on the fast break.
“It's more or less a heart thing, a prideful thing,” Irving said. “Going into Game 2 we'll be a lot more settled in, a lot better on the defensive end. Offensively, I mean, we still have to take good shots against this great team, so we'll get better.”
The Warriors stormed out of the locker room after halftime and quickly built a 21-point lead over the first four minutes of the third quarter.
After a Cavaliers turnover, Durant buried a heavily-contested 26-foot three-pointer from the left wing. Durant caught a pass from shooting guard Klay Thompson and despite being hassled by Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson, the 6-foot-11 stretch forward rose above the pressure and knocked down his first triple of the game.
With Durant already rolling, Curry buried a 17-foot pull-up jumper, and then, followed with a 27-foot three-pointer from the left side of the floor. After an offensive rebound, the Warriors again got the ball to Curry, and he knocked down another triple, this time from the right wing.
Curry’s second three-pointer inside of one minute gave the Warriors a 73-52 lead with 8:03 to play in the third quarter.
“They came out, K.D. hits a big three, Steph hits a big three, and then, they go on a run and it goes from eight to 16 in a matter of literally a two-minute span,” Irving said. “So when you're playing against a dangerous team like we are playing in the Warriors, and they have great pieces, just got to stay disciplined, understand that every possession is all out, and we'll be fine.”
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