“It was weird, but it was fun.”
– Stephen Curry
The Warriors’ slogan has been “Strength in Numbers” for a couple years now, and while that’s approaching the status of a cliche, there’s a lot of truth in it. Team beats individual every time. This effect was on full display in Game 1 of the Finals, when the Splash Brothers struggled all night, ending up 8-for-27 from the field for a combined 20 points. That was strange enough, but what was even stranger was that it did not matter at all. The rest of the team took up the slack and didn’t just eke out a win; they outplayed the Cavaliers in convincing fashion.
The W’s leading scorer was Shaun Livingston (20 pts, 8/10 FG, 0 turnovers), who had his midrange jumper in sizzling form. Leandro Barbosa, little used recently, tallied 11 in 11 minutes, repeatedly tormenting the tenacious but slow afoot Matthew Dellavedova. Draymond Green scored 16 and presumptive Finals MVP Andre Iguodala 12, and the whole team pitched in to play stellar defense. Even coach Steve Kerr got into the act, logging his third broken clipboard of the season to help the guys stay motivated in the second half.
This is only one game, obviously; things can change a lot over the course of a seven-game series. But it’s not a good sign for Cleveland that the Warriors’ best players had off nights and they still won easily. At one point late in the game ABC flashed a stat showing the W’s top 6 scorers of the night, and there was no one named Curry or Thompson among them. (In the end, Steph hit a late three to pass Andrew Bogut for the 6 spot.) We sat here somewhat flabbergasted on the living room couch, dodging the persistent summer sun that sometimes makes it hard to see what’s happening onscreen.
We’ll all suit up again for Game 2 on Sunday. Will the Splash Bros break the 20-point barrier this time? Um, take the over.