OAKLAND, USA – Kevin Durant scored 38 points and Stephen Curry added 28 as the Golden State Warriors defeated defending champion Cleveland 113-91 in the NBA Finals opener on Thursday, June 1 (Friday, June 2 in Manila), matching the league's longest playoff win streak.
Pushing their record unbeaten playoff start to 13-0, the Warriors seized a 1-0 edge in the best-of-7 championship series, which continues Sunday in Oakland before shifting to Cleveland for games 3 and 4.
Durant, who also had 8 rebounds and 8 assists, dominated inside early, setting a one-game career record with 6 slam dunks in the first half. Golden State had 11 first-half dunks in all, the most of any team in any Finals half in 20 years.
Curry, who had 10 assists, sparkled in the third quarter, his 3-pointers capping a 13-0 run to start the second half that produced a 73-52 lead. The Cavaliers never seriously threatened again.
The Warriors matched an NBA Finals one-game record with only 4 turnovers while the Cavaliers made 20, 8 of them by superstar LeBron James and 6 of those in the second quarter alone.
Durant, seeking his first NBA crown after leaving Oklahoma City for Golden State last July, hit 14-of-26 from the floor and helped frustrate James, who finished with 28 points on 9-of-20 shooting with 15 rebounds and 8 assists in the first game of his seventh consecutive finals.
Golden State, trying to become the first unbeaten playoff champion, matched the record 13-game post-season win streak set by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1988 and 1989 and matched by the Cavaliers this year.
The Cavaliers saw their 9-game playoff road win streak snapped. It was the second-best in NBA history after the Los Angeles Lakers took 12 in a row in 2001-02.
Kyrie Irving added 24 points for Cleveland while Levin Love had 15 points and 21 rebounds for the Cavs, who outrebounded the Warriors 59-50. Draymond Green led Golden State with 11 rebounds.
James had 19 points and 11 rebounds in the first half, the first time in his career he managed a playoff double-double before halftime.
But the 7 first-half turnovers were the second most in a half in James's career, having made 9 giveaways in 2005 against New Orleans.
The Warriors made 12 steals to none by Cleveland.
Andre Iguodala's 3-pointer to end the first quarter gave the Warriors a 35-30 lead and Golden State stretched it to 60-52 at half-time.
Curry's surge to open the second half pulled the Warriors away to stay. After another 3-pointer later in the third, Curry turned from the basket and kicked his feet into the air, celebrating his ability to seemingly score at will against the struggling Cavaliers.
Late in the fourth quarter, a steal from James by Ian Clark set up a no-look pass from Curry to Durant, who sank a 3-pointer and shook his head in awe of his hot hand.
Durant joined Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal and Rick Barry in scoring 25 or more points in his first 6 NBA Finals games, the prior 5 with Oklahoma City in a 2012 loss to the James-led Miami Heat.
The Warriors beat Cleveland for the 2015 crown but squandered a 3-1 lead last year as the Cavs made the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history. – Rappler.com