Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr hailed the contribution of his bench after his side defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 104-89 in Game 1 on the NBA Finals Series.
On an off-night for Golden State’s star duo of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, Kerr saw reserves Shaun Livingston and Leandro Barbosa stepping up to the mark.
Curry and Thompson combined for only 20 points on the night, the notorious “Splash Brothers” making only eight of their 27 shots, with Curry contributing 11 points and Thompson only nine.
That could have led to problems for the defending NBA champions but a significant haul from the bench – Golden State accrued 45 points from reserves compared with just 10 for the Cavaliers – allied to some poor shooting from Cleveland helped ensure Kerr’s team banked victory in Game 1.
Afterwards, the coach paid tribute to the depth of talent at his disposal, insisting Golden State’s entire ethos is based on having players capable of contributing when the starting five are not firing on all cylinders. “We’ve talked about our depth for the last two years.
We rely on a lot of people. We play a lot of people, and we feel like we have a lot of talent on the bench that can come in and score when we need it,” Kerr said.
“So it’s a great sign, obviously, that we can win in the finals without those two guys [Curry and Thompson] having big games, but it’s not really that surprising to us. This has been our team the last couple of years.”
The Warriors are 1.25 to win the NBA Finals, with Cleveland 3.80 after their defeat in Game 1.