We’re all thinking about Kyrie Irving, and trying to ignore his downcast demeanor after Game 1, but the Warriors likely would have won the first game of the Finals regardless of the cruel twist of
fate Irving’s leg.
Stephen Curry scored a team-high 26 points (10/20) and dished eight assists in 42 minutes of action. He also hit four big free throws inside of four minutes to play as he tried to forget Kyrie’s block to end regulation. Irving earned some respect for the way he battled tonight, busting his ass to score and help his team even on a creaky knee that didn’t inspire much confidence.
The MVP was just as quality on offense, but it was when Steph swiped the ball from LeBron James that was perhaps his biggest play of the night. There was only 1:56 left, with the Warriors hanging on to a seven-point lead. They needed a stop, and he forced one.
Iggy got fouled and hit one-of-two from the line. LeBron missed two 3-point attempts on the following possession (thanks to one of Tristan Thompson’s six offensive rebounds on the night). But that was pretty much it.
Andre Iguodala played the most eye-opening role in the Warriors win — Golden State’s second-unit wore down LeBron, Kyrie and Tristan Thompson, who all played over 43 minutes. But Curry’s big jumper late, consistency from the stripe and strip of James were all huge plays in the closing moments of OT.
The Dubs could have easily lost this game; Iman Shumpert’s offensive rebound and put-back to end regulation was a few inches from going over the iron. But it didn’t. Just like the Warriors didn’t falter in Game 3 against the Pelicans. Just like they didn’t stay down when Tony Allen, Marc Gasol and Z-Bo knocked them around in Game 2 and 3 of the Conference Semifinals. Just like they didn’t panic after Houston whooped them at the beginning of Game 4.
The Warriors can take a punch, and they might have taken Cleveland’s biggest uppercut tonight. They more stayed on their feet, too.