Kevin Durant scored a game-high 38 points and Stephen Curry hit six three-pointers as the Golden State Warriors cruised to a lopsided 113-91 win in the first game of the NBA Finals on Thursday.
The highly-anticipated meeting between the defending champion Cavaliers and the top-seeded Warriors did not disappoint initially, with sensational dunks by LeBron James and Durant during a see-sawing first quarter.
But the wheels came off for the visiting Cavaliers as soon as the second half started, with Durant sinking a three-pointer and Warriors centre Zaza Pachulia hitting a lay-up on a 10-0 run.
The final outcome was all but a formality at the start of the fourth quarter as the Warriors forged 21 points ahead.
The Warriors, who had not played in nine days, were rusty at the outset, missing shots close to the basket and looking anxious on offence.
“Our first half was sloppy on the offensive end, we were missing a lot of lay-ups,” said Curry.
“A little gun shy with our shots. But our defence allowed us to create some momentum until we got our flow.”
The Cavaliers hurt themselves with 20 turnovers, tying an NBA record for a playoff or Finals game.
The Warriors, meanwhile, committed just four, tying the record for the fewest in a Finals game.
The Warriors and Cavaliers are meeting in their third consecutive Finals, a matchup many predicted when the season began.
Golden State beat Cleveland in the 2015 Finals but let a 3-1 lead slip last year as James’s Cavaliers finally brought the Larry O’Brien trophy back to Ohio.
The Warriors know better than to relax against James and their rivals, Durant said.
“We’re playing a great team, we’re playing the champs. You know they’re not going to give up at all,” he said on court.
The teams will meet again in Oakland on Sunday for Game Two of the best-of-seven series.