Player grades as Golden State Warriors' balance overcomes LeBron James' monster effort in Game 1 of NBA Finals

Jay Asser 08:26 01/06/2018
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LeBron James’ 51 points weren’t enough to steal Game 1 of the NBA Finals as the Golden State Warriors held on for a 124-114 overtime victory.

While the Warriors were fueled by a balanced attack, James had to carry nearly the entire load for Cleveland and almost pulled off an upset before his team-mates ultimately let him down.

Here are the player grades for both teams in the opener.

Golden State Warriors

Stephen Curry – He shot efficiently from deep and was aggressive in attacking mismatches whenever Cleveland switched. A-

Klay Thompson – A scary-looking injury in the first quarter didn’t stop him from returning and knocking down his usual shots. A-

Kevin Durant – Didn’t have an easy time scoring his 26 as Cleveland did well to make him work in isolations. B

Draymond Green – Did it all as he filled up the stat sheet with 13 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, five steals and three blocks, while also hitting a couple 3s. A-

Kevon Looney – Played his role well by finishing rim runs and offering solid defence to afford the Warriors switchability. B+

Jordan Bell – Like Looney, he was useful as a screen setter and as the roll man, which opened up opportunities for easy baskets. B

Shaun Livingston – Hit all four of his field goals and did his part off the bench in 18 minutes of action. B

JaVale McGee – Only played six minutes but made them count with a couple buckets and good defence when switched onto LeBron. B+


Cleveland Cavaliers

George Hill – Missed a potential game-winning free throw and only took five shots on the night as he played too passive. C-

J.R. Smith – His mental blunder at the end of regulation may have cost his team the game and he was also a team-worst minus-20 on the night. D

LeBron James – What more can you say about the man. He had 51 points and did everything he could to steal Game 1. A+

Kevin Love – Helped LeBron more than anyone else on offence with 21 points, but was also picked on repeatedly on the other end. B

Tristan Thompson – Energy on the offensive glass is all he provided and got swallowed up at times with the ball near the basket. C

Jeff Green – Didn’t carry over his strong play from the end of the Eastern Conference Finals, shooting just 1-of-6 from 3. C-

Kyle Korver – His shooting was mostly a non-factor and he made a couple mistakes on the defensive end, including committing a foul on a 3-pointer. C-

Jordan Clarkson – Was awful on both ends of the court as he bricked several good looks and forced others. D-

Larry Nance Jr – In just 19 minutes, he had nine points and 11 rebounds, including four offensive, to give the Cavaliers valuable minutes and energy. A-

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