The Warriors set an early tone in the NBA Finals by beating the Cavaliers 113-91 in Game 1.

OAKLAND – LeBron James has trained his eyes to look at team turnovers and his turnovers on the box score before he looks at any other statistic.

He did not like what he saw following Golden State’s 113-91 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

The Cavs had 20 turnovers, leading to 21 points for Golden State, and James had a game-worst eight turnovers – four more than the Warriors had as a team.

“It started with myself having some turnovers, especially in the first half,” James said. “I pride myself on not turning the ball over, and I did it too much. … we had 20 turnovers, and there’s no way you’re going to win a ballgame having 20 turnovers against this team and on the road.”

The Cavaliers’ issues in the series opener ran deeper than just turnovers, too, such as points allowed in the paint (56), fastbreak points (27), their poor shooting and defense on Kevin Durant, who had 38 points, including 12 on dunks.

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But it is too early to make definitive judgments about how this best-of-7 series will play out. Before the Cavs are rendered runners-up before the series moves to Cleveland, it’s necessary to see the Cavs play a better game without the turnovers and better offense and defense.

James had 28 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists, but those numbers were offset by his turnovers. Kevin Love had 15 points and 21 rebounds but made just 4-for-13 from the field. Tristan Thompson had no points and just four rebounds. J.R. Smith was 1-for-4 shooting, and Kyle Korver missed his three three-point attempts.

“We made a lot of mistakes,” James said. “There’s nothing really needs to be said. We know we’re capable of playing a lot better. We didn’t play as well as we know we’re capable of, so we look forward to the next one.”

In last year’s Finals, the Cavs lost Game 1 by 15 points, Game 2 by 33 points and were down 3-1 before winning the title. One game doesn’t determine a champion.

“We can play a lot better,” Cavs coach Ty Lue said. “I know we will play better. When we’re not making shots and they get off in transition off rebounds, they’re tough to guard. So, I know we can play better, we will play better, but we got to do a better job putting the ball in the basket.”

Lue will make defensive adjustments and not give Durant red-carpet access to the rim, and the Cavs will shoot better than 34.9% from the field, have better ball-movement and not commit 20 turnovers. They may try to slow the pace.

But even if the Cavs play better, is that enough against Golden State? This season’s Warriors have Durant and last season’s Warriors did not. He creates even more matchup problems.

“You take one of the best teams that we had ever assembled last year, that we saw in the regular season and in the postseason, and then in the offseason you add a high-powered offensive talent like that and a great basketball IQ like that, that’s what stands out,” James said. “I mean, it’s no if, ands, or buts. It is what it is. We got to figure out how to combat that, which is going to be a tough challenge for us.”

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt. 


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