For the second year in a row, the Cleveland Cavaliers trail the Golden State Warriors after the first game of the NBA Finals.
LeBron James has been in this position several times during his seven trips to the NBA Finals, so neither he nor the team are in an unfamiliar position following Thursday’s 104-89 defeat to the defending champions in Golden State.
“We’re not a team to lose our composure over anything,” James told reporters.
James nearly finished with a triple-double, coming up with 23 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists, but he also had four turnovers.
The four-time MVP was not alone on that front, as the Cavs turned the ball over 17 times and allowed the Warriors to score 25 points off of those turnovers.
“We’ve got to do a better job protecting the ball,” James said. “It’s that simple.”
While the Cavs nullified reigning MVP Stephen Curry (11 points) and Klay Thompson (nine points) at Oracle Arena, Cleveland’s bench had no answer to Golden State’s reserves, outscored 45-10.
A career-high 20 points from Shaun Livingston propelled the Warriors, as Andre Iguodala (12 points) and Leandro Barbosa (11 points) also starred off the bench.
“I thought our guys did a great job of locking into those guys [Curry and Thompson]. We talked about it before the game, just being aware of what we’re trying to do. And I thought we did a good job of that,” said Cavs coach Tyronn Lue.
“Livingston came in and had a great game. Their bench played well. So we’ve got to go back to the drawing board and try to figure out how to take those guys out of the game.
“For the most part I’m pleased with what we did defensively against Steph and Klay. And like you said, the bench came in and did a good job for them.”