NBA Finals Game 1: Shaun Livingston, Ladies and Gentlemen!


Everyone give Bob Myers a round of applause. Actually, kiss his feet too. Aw heck, give the man a bearhug!

Why? Simple: Shaun Livingston.

Two years ago, Myers, the Warriors General Manager, signed Livingston to a 3-year, $16 million contract to be Stephen Curry's official backup. It's not easy to sign a contract knowing full well you're not going to start, but Bob Myers knows exactly who to sign. He knows who fits what role perfectly and who will play well when their name is called.

Shaun Livingston's name was called tonight with 3:17 left in the 1st quarter and he didn't stop playing well until he was taken out to a standing ovation at the 6:08 mark in the 4th.

Livingston had a team high 20 points on 8-10 shooting, only the 11th time in his career that he has reached the 20 point plateau, and the Warriors were able to temper the storm that is Lebron James to win 104-89.

In what could be considered a blasphemous statement, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson both had bad nights. The Splash Brothers are known for hitting shots from deep but tonight, they started very cold and didn't reach double figures until the 4th quarter, when they hit back to back to threes to force a Cavalier timeout. Shortly after, the Cavaliers emptied their bench, down 17 with 2:24 left in the game.

Speaking of bench, the Warriors bench was unbelievable! Andre Iguodala had 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists while Leandro Barbosa chipped in 11 points on 5-5 shooting. The Warriors had 7 guys in double figures, with Andrew Bogut being the first to reach that mark early in the 3rd quarter.

Matthew Dellavedova intentionally fouled Iguodala at one point, accidentally hitting him below the belt. Iguodala immediately turned and yelled in Delly's face but the foul was reviewed and called a common foul. Nonetheless, from that point late in the third to midway through the 4th, Golden State went on a 25-8 run. Don't anger the Iggy!

Lebron James did all he could for his team, totaling 23 points, 12 rebounds, and 9 assists, but the Warriors' great defensive intensity, double teams, and rotations were too much for the Cavaliers. Kyrie Irving had a game-high 26 points but shot 7-22. JR Smith was held scoreless for three and a half quarters until knocking down a three with 4:43 left in the game. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late for the Cavs and the Warriors snagged the first victory of The Finals at home.

There were so many positives for the Warriors in this game, from Iggy's back to back steals on back to back possessions to the 21-4 run the Warriors went on in which 17 of those points came from the bench. Curry and Thompson didn't shoot well but their presence on the court was still a factor for the Warriors' offense. They drew a lot of attention, creating open shots for their teammates, especially for Shaun Livingston, who said this after the game when asked about the way he plays when Curry and Thompson are on the court.

"Just being aggressive when they're out there. They command so much attention, especially Steph on the pick and roll."

Livingston's offense was very helpful but it was the Warrior defense that was the ultimate fighter tonight.

Golden State held the Cavaliers to 38% shooting and forced them to play iso ball after shutting down most of their plays early in the shot clock. The Warriors could do no wrong defensively, getting steals, forcing turnovers, and denying the ball well, especially when Cleveland tried to slow it down and throw it to Love or James in the post.

The Cavaliers were the most efficient offensive team this postseason but looked completely out of sorts whenever they were in the half-court setting. 

"We've gotta be much better moving the ball, moving bodies," James said after the game. "[The Warriors] are a great team when you just hold the ball."

The end of the game was all Golden State, especially the beginning of the fourth quarter. Iggy knocked down a three followed quickly by a tough Barbosa jumper. Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue immediately called a timeout, only 50 seconds into the final quarter.

When asked if Barbosa was still the Brazilian Blur, Livingston had this to say.

"Beep beep. That's him, beep beep. He hasn't lost it, he's still aggressive, its amazing to see him continue to speed around guys like that, especially at his age."

Well Shaun, don't kill me for this, but you're not the young stud you once were. Just asked Draymond Green, who had this to say on the podium after the game.

"Shaun Livingston is someone who has battled through so much more than just stepping up in a game."

Livingston is a 12 year veteran of the NBA, but his best years are happening right now in the Bay Area.

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