As we all know, the Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in convincing fashion during Game 1.
The game may have been close for a full three quarters, but the Warriors pulled away in the fourth quarter behind gutsy performances from Shaun Livingston and Leandro Barbosa. Livingston led the team with 20 points, while Barbosa had 11 points in just 11 minutes of action.
Golden State outscored Cleveland, 30-21, in the decisive fourth quarter. The lineup that head coach Steve Kerr used for the Warriors heading into the second and fourth quarters featured Livingston, Barbosa, Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes. In other words, Golden State won the game because of this lineup.
While one would probably think this lineup had much experience playing together during the season, that isn’t actually the case. They played just one minute together all year long:
Lineup Kerr used to open 2Q and 4Q — Barbosa/Livingston/Iggy/Barnes/Green — had played 1 minute all season before Game 1.
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) June 3, 2016
Three of those five players are bench guys. Both Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were non-factors in Game 1, combining to score just 20 points.
However, it was that aforementioned lineup, plus Golden State’s plus-35 advantage over Cleveland’s bench which got them the victory.
Most of the credit will always be given to the two-time MVP Curry, but the Warriors are a record-breaking team because of how depth-heavy the team is, not because of the talents of just one player.
[button width=”full” button size=”bigger” color=”custom” align=”center” textcolor=”#ffffff” texthcolor=”#ffffff” bgcolor=”#8b0000″ link=”https://clutchpoints.com/harrison-barnes-id-love-return-warriors/”]NEXT: Harrison Barnes: I’d love to return to Warriors[/button]