NBA (National Basketball Association)

First blood to Warriors as Durant and Curry fire them to game one win over LeBron’s Cavs in NBA finals

Golden State win 113-91 as showpiece kicks off

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 June, 2017, 11:53am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 June, 2017, 9:46pm

Kevin Durant drove through the lane untouched for dazzling dunks time and again, finishing with 38 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in his first NBA Finals for Golden State and leading the Warriors past LeBron James and the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers, 113-91 in game one.

Stephen Curry scored 28 points with six three-pointers and 10 assists as this sure-to-be thrilling trilogy began at last, a long-expected, spectacular grand finale envisioned ever since that July day Durant left Oklahoma City to join the loaded Warriors.

James wound up with 28 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists a day after dealing with bigotry far away from basketball.

Someone painted a racial slur on the gate of his Los Angeles home, leaving James to address racism rather than his seventh straight finals appearance or stopping KD.

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.

Durant punished Cleveland for leaving him free, taking the ball to the hoop for emphatic dunks as a man on a mission to deliver exactly what he came for: a championship.

He had six slams in the first half alone for the Warriors, who at 13-0 are already the first team to go this far in a postseason unblemished.

“I think the start of the game, we were a little too anxious and we missed some layups, we gave up some open shots,” Durant said. “I think we just locked in from the second quarter on.”

Game two in the series is Sunday night back at Oracle Arena with its deafening sellout crowd.

Kyrie Irving, who hit the deciding three-pointer with Curry’s hand in his face last June as Cleveland rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to win the city’s first major team title in 52 years, scored 24 points on 10-of-22 shooting.

“We’re just going to have to dig our feet in and be able to guard the basketball,” Irving said. “So it’s more or less a heart thing, a prideful thing. Going into game two we’ll be a lot more settled in, a lot better on the defensive end.”

Kevin Love grabbed 21 rebounds and scored 15 points, while Tristan Thompson was held scoreless and to four boards.

Pushing their record unbeaten play-off start to 13-0, the Warriors seized a 1-0 edge in the best-of-seven championship series, which continues Sunday in Oakland before shifting to Cleveland for games three and four.

Durant, who also had eight rebounds and eight assists, dominated inside early, setting a one-game career record for slam dunks in a half.

Curry sparkled in the third quarter, his three-pointers capping a 13-0 run to start the second half that produced a 21-point lead.

The Cavaliers never seriously threatened again are going to have to make some adjustments to slow down the Warriors.

Talent development must improve if more Chinese players are to reach elite level, says NBA chief

“Some of our lack of communication led to mistakes and led to buckets. They got downhill, got to the spots where they wanted to go,” Love said.

“That led to us not being able to set our defence and get out and play in transition, play fast like we wanted to.

“Uncharacteristic with the number of guys that turned the ball over, but we have to credit those guys for creating some of the turnovers.”