The Warriors win Thursday night, was an untraditional win but a win nonetheless.The Splash Brothers were ice cold, shooting only 8-for-27, a dismal 29.6% from the field.
It was actually the first time in this postseason that Klay Thompson did not score in double figures. It was also the first time Stephen Curry did not score over 20 points this postseason, aside from the one game where he was sidelined due to injury.
This is a testament to how consistent these two have been throughout the playoffs, but also a testament to the Warriors, who still won by a hearty margin. Players like Shaun Livingston, Andre Igoudala, and Leandro Barbosa really stepped up and not only outperformed the Warriors starting lineup, but also the Cavs starting lineup. It will be interesting to see if Steve Kerr goes to the bench sooner if the Splash Brothers cannot catch fire.
For the Cavs it was a very different story. The big three of Love, Irving, and James seemed to have pretty decent games alongside of Tristan Thompson, but besides those 4 players the Cavs scored a total of 13 points. Cleveland’s bench production has been decent throughout the postseason, yet Thursday the bench seemed invisible. What was even more surprising than the lack of bench production from the Cavs, was Changing Frye’s lack of minutes.
Coach Tyron Lue did not want the Warriors to run the ball and get out in transition. Therefore, he played the more physical Triston Thompson over the more versatile and better shooter, Channing Frye. We have seen Frye erupt throughout this postseason; Frye spreads the floor for players like LeBron and Kyre, who excel in creating their own shot heading towards the basket.
The Cavs need to give Frye at least 20 minutes in their next game if they want to take offensive pressure off their big three.
In Game Two, hopefully we will see better performances from both the Splash Brothers and the Cleveland bench.