Curry urged teammates to just be themselves vs Cavs

Rihanna was ON FIRE during Game 1 of the NBA Finals - allegedly heckling Kevin Durant, bowing to LeBron James. and talking trash to haters on the way out of the arena.

(AP Photo/Ben Margot). Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant answers questions after Game 1 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers Thursday, June 1, 2017, in Oakland, Calif.

As this highly anticipated rematch tipped off at last, the biggest difference from previous year was clear.

James and Kyrie Irving shot 19 for 42 between them but the sloppy ball handling allowed the Warriors to take almost as many shots - 106 - as they had points, and 20 more attempts than the Cavs' 86.

"We could be a lot better than we were tonight but in the Finals you get a 'W, ' we'll take it", Durant said.

James finished with 28 points, 15 rebounds, and eight assists.

And yet: During their romp through the Eastern Conference, the Cavs never experienced a defense as intense as the Warriors' and it shook them. James said he would do his best to be ready for the series opener when his mind was elsewhere, concerned for his wife and children back in Ohio. They also believe they can improve upon Game 1, citing a batch of missed bunny shots that prevented them from blowing the Cavs away from the jump. At one point the Cavs' J.R. Smith, faced with the choice of stopping Durant in full flight or leaving Steph Curry for a wide-open corner three, made an executive decision and ran to cover Curry leaving Durant an uncontested dunk.

James was serious. His coach, Tyronn Lue, seemed to speak with just a hint of sarcasm when he said the Warriors are "the best I ever seen". So they're 13-0, and constantly break records every year, last year being 73-9, this year starting the playoffs 13-0. Last year, they became the first team ever to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win the Finals.

Once his night was finally done, Durant found mother Wanda at the end of the Warriors bench and held her in a warm embrace.

- The first came off a great cut to beat James.

On paper, Golden State looks like a team that should dominate for a decade. "People see so much unselfishness, they see the beauty in the pass", Andre Iguodala said.

Not only did the Warriors match a Finals low with just four turnovers, they took Tristan Thompson out of the equation by holding him scoreless. Durant has scored at least 25 points in each of his six career Finals games, losing in his only other appearance to LeBron and Miami in 2012. He shot 14 for 26 in his fifth 30-point performance this postseason, receiving a rousing ovation when he sat down for good with 2:16 remaining.

At the start of the night, Curry was wearing a long compression sleeve on his right arm. He shot 11 for 22, 6 of 11 on 3s.

Golden State realizes it might not get quite the open lanes and looks that Durant had Thursday as the Cavs try to adjust in the paint, yet the pass-happy Warriors are more than capable of opening up the game in other ways as efficiently as they move the ball. How well is this team playing?

  • Julie Sanders