It wasn’t the same familiar faces that guided the Golden State Warriors to a Game 1 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for just 20 points, a total that would’ve troubled the Dubs and their fans if it wasn’t for the incredible play of their bench.

In all, Golden State’s reserves scored 45 points on Thursday night. Leading the way was former top-5 draft pick and inspirational story, Shaun Livingston.

Expectations were high for Livingston when he entered the league, but a catastrophic leg injury not only threatened his NBA career, but his leg itself. There were worries that it would have to be amputated.

Livingston has recovered admirably, and he had a breakout performance in Game 1. He scored a Warriors-career high 20 points, extending Golden State’s lead when Curry and Thompson were on the bench while also matching your point total combined.

Shaun Livingston, Warriors

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

After the game, both Curry and LeBron James had nothing but praise for Livingston.

“We definitely get a boost when our bench guys come in and change the game,” Curry said.

In LeBron’s mind, Livingston was the player of the game.

“Obviously the game ball goes to Shaun Livingston,” said James. “(He) gave them a huge boost.”

If Golden State wants to pull out another win in Game 2 on Sunday night, they’ll probably not be able to rely on Livingston in the same way. Or, maybe he’ll continue to be the surprise star of this series.

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