OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Shaun Livingston scored 20 points off the bench to help the Golden State Warriors overcome a rare quiet night from the Splash Brothers in a 104-89 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for just 20 points on 8-for-27 shooting. But the Warriors' bench outscored Cleveland's reserves 45-10, including 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists from Andre Iguodala. Leandro Barbosa added 11 points on 5-for-5 shooting.
"We pick each other up," Livingston said. "We believe in each other and we just fight."
LeBron James had 23 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists and Kevin Love added 17 points and 13 rebounds in his Finals debut for the Cavaliers. But Cleveland shot just 38 percent and its 17 turnovers led to 25 points for the Warriors.
Game 2 is on Sunday in Oakland.
Golden State has blown Game 1 of the NBA Finals open — and without Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson leading the charge, either.
The Warriors lead 96-76 midway through the fourth quarter and have six players in double figures. Shaun Livingston has 18 points to lead Golden State, while Thompson and Curry have managed a combined 14 points on a rare off night for both.
Cleveland led by one late in the third, but Golden State has outscored the Cavs by 21 points in the last eight minutes.
And it doesn't seem like it'll matter.
Golden State's bench has dominated, outscoring Cleveland's reserves 45-5 so far.—
Game 1 of the NBA Finals may go down to the wire.
Golden State leads Cleveland 74-68 going into the fourth quarter, after the Cavaliers rallied from a double-digit deficit to make things plenty interesting.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr told ABC's Doris Burke after the quarter that his team "lost our intensity."
Golden State led by 11 at one point in the third, before the Cavaliers went on a 19-7 run and took their first lead since the early moments on a make by Kevin Love with 3:54 left in the quarter.
There was a significant delay late in the quarter so referees could review a play where Cleveland's Matthew Dellavedova struck Golden State's Andre Iguodala in the groin area. The play was deemed to be unintentional and only a common foul was called.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are still struggling offensively, combining for 14 points. Kyrie Irving had 20 points for the Cavs.
Oracle Arena is filled to the brim with almost exclusively fans cheering for the hometown Warriors. Almost.
After Tristan Thompson scored on a putback in the third quarter to pull Cleveland within four points at 56-52, a small but vocal Cavs contingent broke out a "Let's Go Cavs!" chant as the teams went to the bench for a timeout.
They were quickly shouted down by Dub Nation, but their voices were heard. And the Cavs are being heard on the court as well.
Turning nine turnovers into 15 points, Golden State leads Cleveland 52-43 at halftime of Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
And it hasn't been the Steph-and-Klay show, either.
Golden State has gotten a combined 38 points from Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, Draymond Green, Leandro Barbosa and Shaun Livingston. Meanwhile, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson haven't exactly gotten going yet, scoring a combined 10 points on 4 for 13 shooting.
Kyrie Irving leads Cleveland with 13 points, but is shooting 3 for 12. LeBron James missed all four of his shots in the second quarter for the Cavaliers, and has 12 so far.
Leandro Barbosa gave Golden State a boost early in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, scoring seven points in less than five minutes off the Warriors' bench.
But he headed to the locker room in the second quarter, walking gingerly and accompanied by a member of the Warriors' athletic training staff.
Barbosa made an awkward-looking 3-pointer early in the second quarter, doing so after referee Ken Mauer and he collided. Mauer tumbled to the court and Barbosa made the shot, neither looking shaken up afterward.
The Warriors say Barbosa tweaked his back, is stretching and is expected to return.
Last time Richard Jefferson played in the NBA Finals, LeBron James was about to be drafted.
Jefferson checked in for the Cavaliers to begin the second quarter of Game 1, tying an NBA record by going 13 years between appearances.
The swingman played for the New Jersey Nets when they lost to San Antonio in the 2003 NBA Finals. Later that month, the Cavaliers selected James with the No. 1 pick in the draft.
Elden Campbell (1991 to 2004) and Sam Cassell (1995 to 2008) also went 13 seasons between playing in the finals.
Jefferson, who will turn 36 shortly after this series, was with the Warriors from 2011-13 before spending this season with the Cavs.
During his brief appearance, the Warriors opened up a 10-point lead.
Golden State's bid for a repeat championship is off to a good start.
The Warriors shot 55 percent in the first quarter and lead the Cleveland Cavaliers 28-24 after the first 12 minutes of these NBA Finals. Harrison Barnes scored seven points and two-time reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry made a pair of 3-pointers for the Warriors.
Anderson Varejao checked in late in the first quarter for the Warriors. The longtime Cavalier is the first player to play for both eventual NBA finalists in the same season.
And it's now official: LeBron James has now played in six consecutive Finals, the first non-Boston Celtic to do that. James made four of his first five shots, leading Cleveland with eight early points.
Golden State's Harrison Barnes is quickly becoming a problem for Cleveland in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
Barnes got the start over Andre Iguodala for the Warriors and it paid immediate dividends. Barnes made his first three shots and the Warriors jumped out to an early lead over the Cavaliers.
Something else to watch: Cleveland's J.R. Smith was just shaking his right hand in a bit of pain, after he went on the floor for a loose ball.
The lineups for Game 1 of the NBA Finals are out, and Golden State is putting Harrison Barnes back in the starting five over 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala.
The other starters for Golden State are no surprise: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut.
There is no mystery to Cleveland's starting five, as the Cavs will go with Kyrie Irving, J.R. Smith, LeBron James, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson to open the game.
Cleveland and Golden State are back in the NBA Finals, and so are 11 of the 12 referees who worked their title series from a year ago.
The only ref who wasn't out there in 2015 is part of the crew for Game 1.
Ed Malloy — who last did a Finals game since 2013 — will be on the court Thursday night with Ken Mauer and Marc Davis, both of whom were part of the rotation last year.
The other nine refs for this series also all officiating at least one game in last year's Cavaliers-Warriors series: Tony Brothers, Mike Callahan, James Capers, Danny Crawford, Scott Foster, Monty McCutchen, Jason Phillips, Derrick Stafford and Zach Zarba.
The ref who worked last year's Finals and isn't back this year is Joey Crawford, who retired this season after an injury.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says discussions are ongoing about changing a hotly debated North Carolina law that could jeopardize plans for the league to hold next season's All-Star Game in Charlotte.
Speaking before Game 1 of the NBA Finals, Silver says the league is insisting that the issue of ensuring "basic protections" for the lesbian, gay and transgender community can be worked out in time for the weekend to be hosted by Charlotte as scheduled.
Silver has continually maintained that the law is problematic, and recently told a meeting of Associated Press Sports Editors that a change in the law is "necessary.
The law excludes lesbian, gay and transgender people from state anti-discrimination protections, blocks local governments from expanding LGBT protections, and bars all types of workplace discrimination lawsuits from state courts. The law also directs transgender people to use public toilets corresponding to the sex listed on their birth certificate.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says the league's Last Two-Minute Reports, designed to be transparent on calls down the stretch of close games, are a good thing.
There were some highly notable missed — or wrong — calls in the early rounds of the playoffs, including one where Oklahoma City's Dion Waiters elbowed San Antonio's Manu Ginobili back to create space on an inbounds pass late in a Thunder win. The referee closest to that play was Marc Davis, one of the three who will work Game 1 of the Finals.
Other key missed call came in the Houston-Golden State series, when the Rockets' James Harden pushed off a defender to create room for what became his winning shot in Game 3 of that matchup.
Some players, including Cleveland's LeBron James and Miami's Dwyane Wade, have said during these playoffs that they don't see the point of issuing such reports.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says flailing of arms and legs in an effort to "sell calls" to referees is becoming a bigger problem.
Silver, speaking less than an hour before Game 1 of the Finals, says it's not something the league wants to see, and that he's hoping to find ways to discourage players from doing it as often.
The issue took center stage in the Western Conference finals when Golden State's Draymond Green kicked Oklahoma City's Steven Adams in the groin area. Silver says such plays will be discussed by the competition committee when it meets this summer.
The NBA Finals will reach fans in 215 countries and 49 different languages, meaning it gets streamed and shown live just about everywhere.
It makes for some sleepless nights in other parts of the world.
Game 1 starts at 9 p.m. Eastern, 6 p.m. local time in Oakland, California — and much to the chagrin of University of Miami guard Laura Cornelius, 3 a.m. in her homeland, the Netherlands.
"Really looking forward to tonights Warriors-Cavs game. Unfortunately it starts at 3am," she tweeted Thursday afternoon.
Basketball is more international than ever, and The Finals reflect that.
There are nine players in this Cleveland-Golden State series who were born outside the United States: Cavs teammates Matthew Dellavedova and Kyrie Irving were born in Australia, as was Warriors center Andrew Bogut. Cavs centers Sasha Kaun and Timofey Mozgov hail from Russia, Cavs center Tristan Thompson is Canadian, Golden State teammates Leandro Barbosa and Anderson Varejao are Brazilian and Warriors reserve Festus Ezeli is from Nigeria.
Oracle Arena is cloaked in gold and ready to rock. The Golden State Warriors have draped each seat with a golden yellow T-shirt that reads "Strength In Numbers" in blue across the chest.
Long considered one of the loudest arenas in the NBA, Oracle's crowd has always taken pride in supporting the Warriors with full-throated vigor. That figures to turn up even another notch with the rematch with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Fans also get a glowing wristband to wear during pregame festivities, and the rest of the Bay Area is following suit in support of the Warriors.
The Raiders took out a newspaper ad with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson and late owner Al Davis's famous slogan "Just Win Baby."
Lines have formed outside of sporting goods stores as fans try to get their hands on Warriors gear and cheer their team on to a second straight championship.