Holding Splash Brothers down not enough for Cavaliers

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) The Cleveland Cavaliers kept the Splash Brothers at bay during Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Even that wasn't enough against the defending champions, and LeBron James and Co. walked off the court knowing they squandered a golden opportunity.

The Cavaliers shot 38 percent and couldn't find a way to stop the Golden State Warriors' supporting cast in a 104-89 loss on Thursday night.

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Playing in his sixth straight NBA Finals, James delivered with 23 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists. Kevin Love was strong as well in his finals debut with 17 points and 13 boards.

Curry and Thompson combined for just 20 points on 8-for-27 shooting, but Leandro Barbosa, Shaun Livingston and the Warriors bench picked up the slack. Barbosa scored 11 points on 5-for-5 shooting, Livingston scored 20 points and Iguodala had 12.

The Cavaliers bench was outscored 45-10, the Warriors scored 25 points off 17 Cleveland turnovers and the Cavs succumbed to a tide they never saw coming.

Game 2 is Sunday in Oakland.

Kyrie Irving scored 26 points, but shot just 7 of 22. Tristan Thompson had 10 points and 12 rebounds for the Cavs, who are trying to end a pro sports championship drought in Cleveland that extends back five decades.

If they can't beat the Warriors when their biggest stars aren't raining 3-pointers, the finals rematch that everyone wanted could be over a lot sooner than most predicted.

The game was sealed at the start of the fourth quarter with both Curry and Thompson on the bench. The Warriors still managed to push the lead to 20 points, a shocking development for a team that won a record 73 games in the regular season on the strength of lights-out shooting from its backcourt.

All of the talk for the Cavaliers headed into the rematch was about the ability of Irving and Love - two defensively deficient players - to keep the high-scoring Warriors in front of them.

Curry and Thompson didn't have the field day that many expected, but the Cavs could never capitalize. The two best shooters in the game were a combined 4 for 13 for 10 points at the break, numbers that should have led to an advantage for Cleveland.

Curry looked tentative, passing on a layup in transition in the third quarter and missing a floater and a putback a couple possessions later to drop to 2 for 10.

The Cavs threw everything they had at the two-time MVP, just as coach Tyronn Lue said they would. James, Irving, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Matthew Dellavedova. They all took a crack at him while Thompson, Love and the Cavs bigs gave Curry forearm shivers and shoulder checks every time they had a chance.

Curry missed a wide-open 3 in transition later in the third quarter and Golden State left the door wide open for James and the Cavaliers.

Love's three-point play gave the Cavs a 64-63 lead, but Cleveland couldn't sustain its offensive attack.

Kerr started the fourth quarter with both Splash Brothers on the bench and Iguodala and Barbosa hit shots to start the period and build the cushion.

Smith scored just three points in 37 minutes.