When you’re playing the most successful team in NBA history and its two best players combine for just 20 points, that’s a game you have to win. Instead, the Cavaliers got blown out by the Warriors in Game 1 of the Finals despite the fact that Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, who both entered the series averaging north of 26 points per game in the playoffs, were wildly ineffective.
“The Cavs blew a perfect opportunity to capitalize on a night that we’re not going to see again – and that was the Splash Brothers being beached,” NBA Radio analyst and Miami Heat sideline reporter Jason Jackson said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “The bottom line is this: If the guys that do not start, if they give you more than they usually give you, then you’re in a really good spot. Usually you get that as extra. That’s your 125 night. But even if Livingston scored his regular 6.5 points, that’s still a one-point victory at home for Golden State.”
Livingston shot 8-of-10 from the floor and scored a team-high 20 points in Golden State’s 104-89 win. In fact, Livingston, Leandro Barbosa and Andre Iguodala combined for 43 points on 18-of-24 shooting (75 percent).
Cleveland’s Big Three, meanwhile, had decent numbers but were far too inefficient to win at ORACLE. Kyrie Irving scored 26 points on 22 shots. LeBron James scored 23 on 21. Kevin Love scored 17 on 17.
That can’t happen.
“It can’t be volume nights for Cleveland,” Jackson said. “It can’t be shooting 20 to get 20. Hell, you better shoot 30 to get 30 if that’s what you’re going to do. They got to be more efficient and you just missed a night where those cats (Curry and Thompson) looked like they were human for a change. Those are the things that drive you crazy.”
So does a reserve going off for 20 points and getting to all of his spots at will.
“God bless Shaun Livingston and his story, the way he’s been able to have this part of his career really trump maybe not the pain of the way that he was derailed with that massive injury when he was a Clipper, but if there’s a guy that’s going to beat us that we can live with, he’s one of those guys,” Jackson said. “But not on the same night where the superstars look like cats at the Y. That can’t be the case. If I’m a Cavs fan today, I’m frustrated beyond belief because of that.”
While Curry and Thompson were off Thursday night, the Cavs weren’t much better, shooting 32-of-84 (38.1 percent) from the field, including 7-of-21 (33.3 percent) from three. Still, James – with 23 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists, two steals and one block – came within one dime of a triple-double.
“LeBron did his job last night,” Jackson said. “It’s just that now he’s going to need more.”