Not even LeBron James going straight Mufasa and destroying everything the light touches was enough to get the Cleveland Cavaliers over the line.
It took overtime to get the job done, but the Golden State Warriors toppled the Cavs in Game 1 of the highly anticipated NBA Finals today, in front of a typically raucous Oakland crowd at the Warriors’ Oracle Arena.
James put on a performance for the ages, commanding the Cavs lineup from the front and single-handedly putting them within striking distance of the formidable Warriors. His 44 points was a clear game-high, coming off of a team-high 47.5% field goal shooting, and backing that up with 8 rebounds and 6 assists.
It was vintage LeBron all over the court, and it got the Cavs to within a whiff of an all-important road victory.
But the balance and spread of the Warriors was not to be denied. A true marvel at the best of times, Golden State’s team offence overcame a slow first quarter to peg the Cavs back through the ensuing two quarters, drawing level by the end of the third.
Steph Curry and Klay Thompson again provided the attacking spark, with the Splash Brothers registering 26 and 21 points respectively. But it was veteran sixth man Andre Iguodala who reached into his bag of tricks and pulled out some magic, sinking 15 points off a remarkable 6 for 8 shooting.
With scores level at the end of regulation, the Warriors defence restricted Cleveland to just 2 points in overtime, running out winners with a final score of 108 – 100.
As for the Australian contingent, Golden State’s Andrew Bogut again ably provided a brick wall in defence, dragging down a team-high 7 rebounds. Whilst Cleveland’s dogged back up guard Matthew Dellavedova had a quiet game, with just three assists and a rebound put up on the stat sheet from a reduced workload of 9 on-court minutes.
Game 2 of the NBA Finals takes place on Monday morning Australian time, again from the Oracle Arena in Oakland.
It’s gonna take more than just LeBron firing up if the Cavs are to get over the line in this series. This Golden State outfit is a serious team.
Photo: Ezra Shaw via Getty Images.