The Golden State Warriors dominated the Cleveland Cavaliers in the extra frame during Game 1 of the NBA Finals, taking the contest by a 108-100 mark after Cleveland fell apart in the final five minutes. NBA MVP Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 26 points, as the Cavs watched helplessly as point guard Kyrie Irving limped badly to the locker room in overtime with what appears to be the latest in a string of injuries to the All-Star.
Irving had been brilliant throughout the game, keeping the Warriors on edge with crafty drives and expert passing, and his block of Curry late in regulation in what appeared to be an easy and wide open layup helped secure Cleveland’s chance at an extra frame. LeBron James, working mostly in Michael Jordan-styled isolation plays in the post, added a personal career Finals-high with 44 points, but it wasn’t enough as Golden State pulled away in what was previously a close and contested affair.
James missed his first three shots in overtime as the Warriors got back to whipping the ball around offensively, as a miss and turnover by Irving prior to his departure led to easier scores for Golden State as it flew back to the other end of the court. By the time James got around to having to carry the offensive load sans Irving, his team was playing catch-up as he missed two desperation three-pointers. In the end, the Cavaliers missed their first nine shots in overtime, with three turnovers to boot, before James hit a meaningless layup to give the game its final score.
In a way, the game played almost to script.
Golden State has struggled to start series and contests at home in the first quarter, and while the team didn’t look especially rattled as the Finals neophytes took to the stage, the Warriors appeared off. The Warriors missed both good looks and bad shots, somehow managing to both overpass and still finish the first quarter with the lowest assist mark of any quarter in their season’s previous 388 quarters – two dimes.