The wait is over and the Golden State Warriors can officially put a "W" in the win column for Game 1 of the NBA Finals winning in OT over the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-100. Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 22 points and Klay Thompson wasn't not far behind with 21. Lebron James carried his Cleveland Cavaliers team on his back scoring 44 points.
"It was a slow start for all of us. You know, I just felt like the quarter we looked nervous," said Kerr at the post game press conference.
With the two rookie head coaches in Dave Blatt and Kerr, making their debuts they coached their teams in a duel of the ages and Cleveland jumped off to a head start in the first quarter 29-19 and led by as much as 14 in the game but it would be the depth of the Warriors bench and the lack of a strong supporting cast that would hurt James' team in the end.
"It's great, it's so much fun, said Kerr of his first Finals game as a head coach in front of the 132nd consecutive sell-out of 19,596 at ORACLE extending their win streak at home 47-3.
"This is what we all dream of in the NBA, to play in The Finals, to coach in The Finals, to be a part of all of this, two great teams."
Golden States bench has been one of the deepest in the league all season with everyone scoring baskets combining for 34 points versus the Cavs' 9 points led by veteran Andre Iguodala who led the bench in scoring with 15 points and of 2-of-3 from the 3-point line.
Andre Iguodala (left) and Stephen Curry
"Andre has been huge this whole playoffs. People just notice it tonight because he scored, but he does a lot of things that don't show up on the stat sheet. His defense on Lebron at the end of regulation was huge, said Warriors center Andrew Bogut. "But he was scoring tonight, he was aggressive, he had a couple of dunks, he hit some three's. He looked like the Andre from Philly."
In his sixth straight Finals game, James gave ORACLE fans gave a sigh of relief when his jumper hit the rim to send the game into overtime. Fans know all to well of his game ending shockers as recently as last February while as a member of the Miami Heat he sank a 3-pointer to win the game with 0.1 seconds left on the shot clock.
"We're lucky to get overtime," said Kerr, "It's always a game of runs. Our team, we like to play fast. We try to rely on our defense to get stops so we can get out and run."
The Warriors did just that going on a run in the second half 24-7 eventually sending the game into overtime, knocking down shots, outscoring the Cavs 10 to 2. Cleveland lost their rhythm when their second best player in Kyrie Irving left the game with a left knee injury with two-minutes left in overtime.The Cavs would get their only basket in OT with a lay-up by James with 9.5 seconds left.
"I've been in the league 11-years and it's always something interesting," said Iguodala of the anticipation and excitement of going up against the best player. "My years in Philly, I always had to guard the best players and then I had to try to create on offense as well."
Game 2 will be held at ORACLE on Sunday, June 7th at 5pm on ABC.
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Warriors head coach Steve Kerr became the first head coach to win Game 1 of an NBA Finals since Mike Dunleavy and Kerr along with Cavaliers head coach David Blatt became the second pair of NBA rookie coaches to meet in The Finals, the first dates back to the leagues first year in 1947.
With his 21-points on Thursday Warriors' Klay Thompson joined his dad, two-time NBA champion Mychal Thompson as the seventh father/son combo to appear in The NBA Finals according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Former Warriors head coach Mark Jackson, now doing color commentary for ESPN/ABC called the game.
Cleveland's two points in OT tied all-time Finals low for an overtime period in the shot clock era (since 1954-55).
An MRI will be done Friday on Cavs guard Kyrie Irving to see if there's a tear in his left knee. He left the ORACLE Arena on crutches.