NBA: Golden State Warriors bench dominant as they take Game 1 of NBA Finals 104-89

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (centre) struggles with the rebound between Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (left) and guard Shaun Livingston.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (centre) struggles with the rebound between Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (left) and guard Shaun Livingston. PHOTO: AFP

OAKLAND (AFP) - Defending champions Golden State Warriors, showing the teamwork and depth that helped produce a record 73 regular-season wins, routed the Cleveland Cavaliers 104-89 in Thursday's opening game of the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals.

Game 2 in the best-of-seven series will be played on Sunday at Oakland before the scene shifts to Cleveland for two games.

Warriors reserve guard Shaun Livingston scored a career playoff high 20 points, while Draymond Green added 16 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and four steals to lead seven double-figure scorers.

Golden State's defensive play was just as deep and dominating, holding Cleveland to just 38.1 per cent shooting from the floor, the Cavaliers hitting only 32-of-84 shots.

Kyrie Irving led Cleveland with 26 points but hit only 7-of-22 from the floor while LeBron James added 23 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists but made only 9-of-21.

James passed Larry Bird for 10th on the all-time playoff rebounds list, making him the only player in NBA playoff history to rank in the top 10 in points, rebounds and assists.

Kevin Love had 17 points and 13 rebounds but went 7-of-17 shooting and Tristan Thompson added 10 points on 5-of-11 shooting plus 12 rebounds.

Cleveland's reserves managed only 10 points while the Warriors' bench had 45, paced by Livingston.

"We knew we had to be aggressive," said Livingston. "We knew we had to play tough defence and make some shots."

For all the talk of two-time NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Stephen Curry and Cleveland's four-time NBA MVP James stealing the show, the Warriors reserves produced their share of the points when it mattered most.

Curry, the NBA scoring champion this season, scored only 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting while Klay Thompson, who usually joins Curry as a three-point sharpshooter, managed only nine points on 4-of-12 shooting.

The Warriors went on decisive 15-0 run that began late in the third quarter and was sparked by the Golden State bench. It also came largely with James resting on the bench.

Reserves scored all but two points for Golden State in the crucial run. The Warriors stretched the lead as big as 96-76 before Cleveland rallied to trim the final margin.